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ROSARIO 



OR 



THE FEMALE MONK 



A ROMANCE 



MONK LEWIS 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MAX JWAURY 
SIXTEEN FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS BY AUGUSTE LEROS 



* Dreams, magic terrorSj spells of mighty power, 
Witches, and ghosts who rove at midDight hour-' 



NOW PUBLISHED 

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 

AMERICA. 



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INTRODUCTION 



It is a most pleasant task for a publisher to present to the 
readers of his time such works of exceptional merit as may 
have been undeservedly buried under the sands of time. To 
some extent, this amounts to a restitution ; for the intellec- 
tual treasure of humanity needs to be constantly husbanded 
by intelligent and energetic hands, so that every parcel of 
gold, foolishly thrown away, be returned, with respectful 
love, to the com.mon hoard. 

We have no hesitation to state that, by introducing to the 
American public the once famous, but now forgotten, book, 
the pages of which, superbly illustrated, are to be found 
under this cover, a real source of delight has been thrown 
open that might otherwise, and for years to come, have re- 
mained unrevealed and untouched. 

When, in 1795 > one of the youngest members of the Brit- 
ish Parliament and the grandchild of a famous judge dared 
to face the severe critics of his time and publish his first ro- 
mance, he had evidently no suspicion that this virgin effort 
of his pen should meet with a most extraordinary welcome. 
This was the cine, though, for Matthew Gregory Lswis, 
qnd his admirable story "ThB Monk" — re-edited later in 



INTRODUCTION. 



the Waterford series under its present title of Rosario or 
The Female Monk. Sir Walter Scott tells us that 
Charles Fox, himself, crossed the floor of the House of Com- 
mons to congratulate the young author, hardly out of his 
teens ; whilst the Bard of Abbotsford adds 07ie more laurel-, 
leaf to the novelisfs crown by styling The Monk ''no ordi- 
nary exertion of genius. ' ' 

It almost seems as if two such endorsem-ents were sufficient 
to carry a man successfully through the thickest shower of 
bigotted insults and jealousy-inspired onslaughts. 

And so they did, with Matthew Gregory Lewis. When 
answering those accusations of immorality, supernatural 
machinery and even plagiarism, directed against this great 
book, and which had constrained Lewis to recall almost every 
copy of his first edition, Sir Walter Scott wrote: "The 
Monk was so highly popular that it seemed to create an 
epoch in our literature." And, in later years, the Scotch 
poet and lecturer, David Macbeth Moir, although markedly 
antagonistic to the literary tendencies of the early Nine- 
teenth Century, said that " Whatever could be argued against 
Lewis' writings, no one could say that they were deficient in 
interest. A man of truly original powers, M. G. Lewis 
was a high-priest of the intense school, some of his stories 
being of amazing vigor — wild, extravagant, unnatural — 
but withal highly readable, nay, occasionally of enchaining 
interest!'''' 

It was but a decade after the publication of The Monk 
that Sir Walkr Scott (ontributt^ to the ' ' Tales of Wonder, ' ' 



INTRODUCTION. 



a volume of verse by Matthew Gregory Lewis, the first 
flowers of his poetical genius; accepting thus openly the 
bond of literary brotherhood existing between him and the 
author of Rosario, by four years his junior. Lockhardt, 
in his "Life of Scott," goes so far as to- say: ''Lewis has 
certainly done Scott no small service, for his ballads effect- 
ually rekindled, in Sir Walter's breast, the spark of poeti- 
cal ambition." If no other glory was to be the share of our 
author, that of inciting to further triumphs the singer of 
"The Lay of the Last Minstrel," ought to endear him 
to all English-speaking people. 

But, in Rosario, Matthew Gregory Lewis has left a 
m,ore substantial memento of his brief career. The steHing 
worth of the book, the grandeur and exquisite perfection of 
its style, the loftiness of its thoughts and the entrancing beauty 
of its imagery, the poignant interest pervading every one 
of its pages — all this, and m-ore, it is now the delightful 
privilege of the reader to discover and realize. 

We can leave him, indeed, in no better and worthier com- 
panionship. Max Maury. 




THE FEMALE MONK 



ScAECELT had the abbey bell tolled for five minutes, and 
already was the church of the Capuchins thronged with audi- 
tors. Do not encourage the idea that the crowd was assem- 
bled either from motives of piety or thirst of information. 
But very few were influenced by those reasons ; and in a city 
where superstition reigns with such despotic sway as in Ma- 
drid, to seek for true devotion would be a fruitless attempt. 
The audience now assembled in the Capuchin church was 
collected by various causes, but all of them were foreign to 
the ostensible motive. The women came to show themselves, 
the men to see the women : some were attracted by curiosity 
to hear an orator so celebrated ; some came because they had 
no better means of employing their time till the play be- 
gan ; some from being assured that it would be impossible to 
find places in the church ; and one half of Madrid was brought 




10 ROSARIO ; OK, 

hither by expecting to meet the other half. The only per- 
sons truly anxious to hear the preacher were a few anti- 
quated devotees, and half a dozen rival orators determined 
to find fault with and ridicule the discourse. As to the re- 
mainder of the audience, the sermon might have been omitted 
altogether, certainly without their being disappointed, and 
very probably without their perceiving the omission. 

Whatever was the occasion, it is at least certain that the 
Capuchin church had never witnessed a more numerous as- 
sembly. Every corner was filled, every seat was occupied. 
The very statues which ornamented the long aisles were 
pressed into the service. Boys suspended themselves upon 
the wings of cherubim ; St. Francis and St. Mark bore each 
a spectator on his shoulders ; and St. Agatha found herself 
under the necessity of carrying double. The consequence 
was, that in spite of all their hurry and expedition, our two 
new-comers, on entering the church, looked round in vain 
for places. 

However, the old woman continued to move forward* In 
vain were exclamations of displeasure vented against her 
from all sides; in vain was she addressed with "I assure 
you, senora, there are no places here." " I beg, senora, that 
you will not crowd me so intolerably ! " " Senora, you can- 
not pass this way. Bless me ! How can people be so trouble- 
some ! " The old woman was obstinate, and on she went. 
By dint of perseverance and two brawny arms, she made a 
passage through the crowd, and managed to bustle herself 
into the very body of the church, at no great distance 
from the pulpit. Her companion had followed her with 
timidity and in silence, profiting by the exertions of her con- 
ductress. 

" Holy Virgin ! " exclaimed the old woman, in a tone of 
disappointment, while she threw a glance of inquiry round 
her ; " Holy Virgin ! what heat ! what a crowd ! I wonder 
vbfttoftn b« ti» me«»inf of t!»if? I believe TVe mmt ve- 



THE FEMALE MONK 11 

turn ; there is no such thing as a seat to be had, and nobody 
seems kind enough to accommodate us with theirs." 

This broad hint attracted the notice of two cavaliers, who 
occupied stools on the rigjit hand, and were leaning their 
backs against the seventh column from the pulpit. Both 
were young, and richly habited. Hearing this appeal to 
their politeness pronounced in a female voice, they inter- 
rupted their conversation to look at the speaker. She had 
thrown up her veil in order to take a clearer look round the 
cathedral. Her hair was red, and she squinted. The cava- 
liers turned round, and renewed their conversation. 

" By all means," replied the old woman's companion ; " by 
all means, Leonella, let us return home immediately ; the 
heat is excessive, and I am terrified at such a crowd." 

These words were pronounced in a tone of unexampled 
sweetness. The cavaliers again broke off their discourse, 
but for this time they were not contented with looking up ; 
both started involuntarily from their seats, and turned 
themselves towards the speaker. 

The voice came from a female, the delicacy and elegance 
of whose figure inspired the youths with the most lively 
curiosity to view the face to which it belonged. This satis- 
faction was denied them. Her features were hidden by a 
thick veil ; but struggling through the crowd had deranged 
it sufficiently to discover a neck which, for symmetry and 
beauty, might have vied with the Medicean Venus. It was 
of the most dazzling whiteness, and received additional 
charms from being shaded by the tresses of her long fair 
hair, which descended in ringlets to her waist. Her figure 
was rather below than above the middle size ; it was light 
and airy as that of an Hamadryad. Her bosom was care- 
fully veiled. Her dress was white ; it was fastened by a blue 
sash, and just permitted to peep out from under it a little 
foot of the most delicate proportions. A chaplet of Urge 
graiug bung upon bev wm, and ber (ftoe was coveifefll ynW 9, 



12 EOSARIO ; OR, 

veil of thick black gauze. Such was the female to whom 
the youngest of the cavaliers now offered his seat, while the 
other thought it necessary to pay the same attention to her 
compauion. 

The old lady, with many expressions of gratitude, but 
without much difficulty, accepted the offer, and seated her- 
self ; the young one followed her example, but made no 
other compliment than a simple and graceful reverence. 
Don Lorenzo (such was the cavalier's name, whose seat she 
had accepted) placed himself near her ; but first he whis- 
pered a few words in his friend's ear, who immediately took 
the hint, and endeavored to draw off the old woman's atten- 
tion from her lovely charge. 

"You are doubtless lately arrived at Madrid," said Lo- 
renzo to his fair neighbor ;-" it is impossible that such 
charms should have long remained unobserved ; and had not 
this been your first public appearance, the envy of the 
women, and adoration of the men, would have rendered 
you ali-eady sufficiently remarkable." 

He paused, in expectation of an answer. As his speech 
did not absolutely require one, the lady did not open her 
lips. After a few moments he resumed his discourse. 

"Am I wrong in supposing you to be a stranger to Ma- 
drid?" 

The lady hesitated ; and at last, in so low a voice as to be 
scarcely intelligible, she made shift to answer, — 

"No, senor." 

" Do you intend making a stay of any length ? " 

"Yes, seiior." 

"I should esteem myself fortunate were it in my power to 
contribute to making your abode agreeable. I am well 
known at Madrid, and my family has some interest at court. 
If I can be of any sei-vice, you cannot honor or oblige me 
more than by permitting me to be of use to you," 



THE FEMALE MO 13 

" Surely," said he to himself, " she cannot answer that by 
a monosyllable ; now she must say something to me." 

Lorenzo was deceived, for the lady answered only by a 
bow. 

By this time h^ had discovered that his neighbor was not 
very conversable ; but whether her silence proceeded from 
pride, discretion, timidity, oridiotism, he was still unable to 
decide. After a pause of some minutes, — 

"It is certainly from your being a stranger," said he, 
" and as yet unacquainted with om- customs, that you con- 
tinue to wear your veil. Permit me to remove it." 

At the same time he advanced his hand towards the gauze. 
The lady raised hers to prevent him. 

" I never unveil in public, seiior." 

"And where is the harm, I pray you?" interrupted her 
companion, somewhat sharply. "Do not you see that the 
other ladies have all laid their veils aside, to do honor, no 
doubt, to the holy place in which we are ? I have taken off 
mine already ; and surely, if I expose my features to gen- 
eral observation, you have no cause to put yourself in such 
a wonderful alarm ! Blessed Maria ! Here is a fuss and bus- 
tle about a chit's face. Come, come, child ! Uncover it ! I 
warrant you that nobody will run away with it from you." 

"Dear aunt, it is not the custom in Murcia." 

" Murcia, indeed ! Holy St. Barbara ! what does that sig- 
nify? You are always putting me in mind of that villainous 
province. If it is the custom in Madrid, that is all that we 
ought to mind, and therefore I desire you to take off your 
veil immediately. Obey me this moment, Antonia, for you 
know that I cannot bear contradiction." 

Her niece was silent, but made no further opposition to 
Don Lorenzo's efforts, who, armed with the aunt's sanction, 
hastened to remove the gauze. What a seraph's head pre- 
sented itself to his admiration. Yet it was rather bewitch- 
ing than beautiful ; it was not so lovely from regularity of 



14 EOSARIO ; OE, 

features, as from sweetness and sensibility of countenance. 
The several parts of her face considered separately, many 
of them were far from handsome ; but when examined to- 
gether, the whole was adorable. Her skin, though fair, was 
not entirely without freckles ; her eyes were not very large, 
nor their lashes particularly long. But then her lips were 
of the most rosy freshness ; her fair and undulating hair, 
confined by a simple riband, poured itself below her waist in 
a profusion of ringlets ; her neck was full and beautiful in 
the extreme ; her hand and arm were formed with the most 
perfect symmetry ; her mild blue eyes seemed a heaven of 
sweetness, and the crystal in which they moved sparkled 
with all the brilliance of diamonds. She appeared to be 
scarcely fifteen, an arch smile playing round her mouth de- 
clared her to be possessed of liveliness, which excess of tim- 
idity at present repressed. She looked round her with a 
bashful glance, and whenever her eyes accidentally met 
Lorenzo's, she dropped them hastily upon her rosary ; her 
cheek was immediately suffused with blushes, and she began 
to tell her beads ; though her manner evidently showed that 
she knew not what she was about. 

Lorenzo gazed upon her with mingled surprise and admira- 
tion, but the aunt thought it necessary to apologize for 
Antonia's mauvaise honte. 

" 'Tis a young creature," said she, " who is totally ignorant 
of the world. She has been brought up in an old castle jn 
Murcia, with no other society than her mother's, who, God 
help her ! has no more sense, good soul, than is necessary to 
carry her soup to her mouth. Yet she is my own sister, both 
by father and mother." 

"And has so little sense?" said Don Christoval, with 
feigned astonishment. " How very extraordinary ! " 

" Very true, seiior. Is it not strange? However, such is 

the fact' and yet only to see the luck of some people ! A 

young nobleman, of the very first quality, took it into his head 



THE FEMALE MONK 15 

that Elvira had some pretensions to beauty. As to pretensions 
in truth she had always enougli of them; but as to beauty ! 
If I had only taken half the pains to set myself off which she 
did. But this is neither here nor there. As I was saying, 
spnor, a young nobleman fell in love with her, and married 
her unknown to his father. Their union remained a secret 
near three years, but at last it came to the ears of the old 
Marquis, who, as you may well suppose, was not much pleased 
with the intelligence. Away he posted in all haste to Cordova, 
determined to seize Elvira, and send her away to some place 
or other, where slie would never be heard of more. Holy St. 
Paul ! How he stormed on finding that she had escaped him, 
had joined her husband, and that they had embarked together 
for the Indies. He swore at us-all, as if the evil spirit had 
possessed him ; he threw my father into prison, as honest a 
painstaking, shoemaker as any in Cordova ; and when he went 
away, he had the cruelty to take from us my sister's little boy, 
then scarcely two years old, and whom in the abruptness of 
her flight she had been obliged to leave behind her. I suppose 
that the poor little wretch met with bitter bad treatment from 
him, for in a few months after we received intelligence of his 
death." 

" Why, this was a most terrible old fellow, senora ! " 

" Oh ! shocking ! and a man so totally devoid of taste ! 
Why, would you believe it, seiior? when I attempted to pacify 
him, he cursed me for a witch, and wished that, to punish 
the Count, my sister miglit become as ugly as myself ! Ugly 
indeed ! I like him for that." 

"Ridiculous!" cried Don Christoval. "Doubtless the 
Count would have thought himself fortunate had he been 
permitted to exchange the one sister for the other." 

"O Christ! seiior, you are really too polite. However, I 
am heartily glad that tlie Cond6 was of a different way of 
thinking. A mighty pretty piece of business, to be sure, 
Elvira has made of it ! After broiling and stewing in the 



16 ROSARIO ; OK, 

Indies for thirteen long years her husband dies, and she returns 
to Spain, without a house td hide her head, or money to procure 
her one ! This Antonia was then but an infant, and her 
only remaining child. She found that her father-in-law had 
married again, that he was irreconcilable to the Cond6, and 
that his second wife had produced him a son, wlio is reported 
to be a very fine young man. TJie old Marquis refused to 
see my sister or her child ; but sfcnt her word that, on con- 
dition of never hearing any more of her, he would assign her 
a small pension, and she might live in an old castle which he 
possessed in Murcia. This had been the favorite habitation 
of his eldest son ; but since his flight from Spain, the old 
marquis could not bear the place, but let it tall to ruin and 
confusion. My sister accepted the proposal ; she retired to 
Murcia, and has remained there till within the last month." 

"And what brings her now to Madrid?" inquired Don 
Lorenzo, whom admiration of the young Antonia compelled to 
take a lively interest iu the taljiative old woman's narration. 

"Alas! senor, her father-in-law being lately dead, the 
steward of his Murcian estates has refused to pay her pension 
any longer. With the design of supplicating his, son to renew 
it, she is now come to Madrid, but I doubt that she might have 
Saved herself the trouble. You young noblemen have always 
enough to do with your money, and are not very often disposed 
to throw it away upon old women. I advised my sister to send 
Antonia with her petition ; but she would not hear of such a 
thing. She is so obstinate ! Well ! she will find herself the 
worse for not following my counsels : the girl has a good pretty 
face, and possibly might have done much." 

"Ah, senora ! " interrupted Don Christoval, counterfeiting 
a passionate air, " if a pretty face will do the business, why 
has not your sister recourse to you ? " 

" O Jesus ! my lord, I swear you quite overpower me with 
your gallantry ! But I promise you that I am too well aware 
of the danger of such expeditions to trust myself in a young 



THE FEMALE MONK 1,7 

nobleman's power! No, no; J luive as j'ot preserved my 
reputation without blemish or reproach, and I alwaj-s knew 
how to keep the men at a proper distance." 

" Of tliat, senora, I have not tlic least doubt. But permit 
me to ask you, Have j'ou then any aversion to matrimony?" 

" That is an honest question. I cannot but confess that if 
an amiable cavalier was to present himself — " 

Here she intended to throw a tender and significant look 
upon Don Christoval ; but as she unluckily happened to squint 
most abominably, the glance fell directly npon his companion. 
Lorenzo took the compliment to himself, and answered it by 
a profound bow. 

" May I inquire," said he, " the name of the Marquis ? " 

" The Marquis de las Cisternas." 

"I know hhn intimately well. He is not at present in 
Madrid, but is expected here daily. He is one of the best of 
men ; and if the lovely Antonia will permit me to be her 
advocate with him, I doubt not my being able to make a 
favorable report of her cause." 

Antonia raised her blue eyes, and silently thanked him for 
the offer by a smile of inexpressiljle sweetness. Leonella's 
satisfaction was much more loud and audible. Indeed, as 
her niece was generally silent in her company, she thought it 
incumbent upon her to talk enougli for both ; this she managed 
without difficulty, for she very seldom found herself deficient 
in words. 

''Oh, seiior ! " she cried, " you will lay our whole family 
under the most signal obligations ! I accept your offer with 
all possible gratitude, and return you a thousand thanks for 
the generosity of your proposal. Antonia, why do you not 
speak, child ? While the cavalier says all sort of civil things 
to you, j^ou sit like a statue, and never utter a syllable of 
thanks, either bad, good, or indifferent." 

" My dear aunt, I am very sensible that — " 

" Fie, niece ! How often have I told you, that you should 



18 ' ROS-ARIO ; OR, 

never iuterrupt a person who is speaking ! When did you 
ever know me to do such a thing? Are these your Murcian 
manners ? Mercy on me ! I shall never be able to make this 
girl anything like a person of good breeding. But pray, 
seiior," she continued, addressing herself to Don Christoval, 
" inform me why such a crowd is assembled to-day in this 
cathedral.'' 

" Can you possibly be ignorant that Ambrosio, abbot of 
this monastery, pronounces a sermon in this clmrch every 
Thursday? All Madrid rings with his praises. As yet he has 
preached but thrice ; but all who have heard him arc so de- 
lighted with his eloquence, that it is as difficult to obtain a 
place at church, as at the first representation of a new comedy. 
His fame certainly must have reached your ears?" 

" Alas ! senor, till yesterday I never had the good fortune 
to see Madrid ; and at Cordova we are so little informed of 
wliat is passing in the rest of the world, that the name of 
Ambrosio has never been mentioned in its precincts." 

' ' You will find it in everyone's mouth at Madrid. He seems 
to have fascinated the inhabitants ; and not liaving attended 
Ills sermons myself, I am astonished at the enthusiasm which 
he has excited. The adoration paid him bj' both young and 
old, by man and woman, is unexampled. The grandees load 
him with presents ; their wives refuse to have any other 
confessor ; and lie is known through all the city by the name 
of ' The Man of Holiness.' " 

' • Undoubted]}', seiior, he is of noble origin?" 

." That point still remains undecided. The late superior of 
the Capuchins found Iiim while yet an infant at the abbey door. 
All attempts to discover wlio had left him there were vain, and 
the child himself could give no account of his parents. He was 
educated in the monastery, wliere he has remained ever since. 
He early showed a strong inclination for study and retirement ; 
and as soon as he was of a proper age, he pronounced his vows. 
No one has ever appeared to claim him , or clear up the mystery 



THE FEMALE MONK 19 

which conceals his birth ; and the monks, who iind their 
account in the favor which is shown to their establishment 
from respect to hiin, have not hesitated to publish that he i& 
a present to them from the Virgin. In truth, the singular 
austerity of his life gives some countenance to the report. He 
is now thfrty years old, every hour of which period has been 
passed in study, total seclusion from the world, and mortifi- 
cation of the flesh. Till these three last weeks, when he was 
chosen superior of the society to which he belongs, he had 
never been on the outside of the abbey walls. Even now he 
never quits them except on Thursdays, when he delivers a 
discourse in this cathedral, which all Madrid assembles to 
hear. His knowledge is said to be the most profound, his 
eloquence the most persuasive. In the whole course of his 
life he has never been known to transgress a single rule of 
his order ; the smallest stain is not to be discovered upon his 
character ; and he is reported to be so strict an observer of 
chastity, that he knows not in what consists the difference of 
man and woman. The common people therefore esteem him 
to be a saint." 

"Does that make a saint?" inquired Antonia. "Bless 
me i then am I one." 

"Holy St. Barbara!" exclaimed Leonella, "what a ques- 
tion ! Fie, child, fle ! these words are not fit subjects for 
yoiing women to handle. You should not seem to remem- 
ber that there is such a thing as a ra^n in the world, and 
you ought' to imagine everybody tc be ^r the same sex with 
yourself. I should like to see you give people to understand 
that you kiiow that a man has no breasts, and no hips, and 

110—" 

Luckily for Antonia's ignorance, which her aunt's lecture 
would soon have dispelled, a universal murmur through the 
church announced the preacher's arrival. Donna Leonella 
rose from her seat to take a better view of him, and Antonia 
followed her esample. 



29 ROSARIO ; OR, 

He was a man of uoble port and comniauding presence. 
His stature was lofty, and his features uncommonly hand- 
some. His nose was aquiline, his eyes large, black, and 
sparkling, and his dark brows almost joined together. His 
complexion was of a deep but clear brown ; study and watch- 
ing had entirely deprived his cheek of color. Tranquillity 
reigned upon his smooth unwrinkled forehead ; and content, 
sxpressed upon every feature, seemed to announce the man 
equally unacquainted with cares and crimes. He bowed 
himself with humility to the audience. Still there was a 
certain severity in his look and manner that inspired uni- 
versal awe, and few could sustain the glance of his eye, at 
once fiery and penetrating. Such was Ambrosio, abbot of 
the Capuchins, and surnamed "The Man of Holiness." 

Anton ia, while she gazed upon him eagerly, felt a pleasure 
fluttering in her bosom whicii till then had been unknown to 
her, and for whicli she in vain endeavored to account. She 
waited with impatience till the sermon should begin ; and 
when at length the friar spoke, the sound of his voice seemed 
to penetrate into her very soul. Thougli no other of the 
spectators felt such violent sensations as did the young 
Autonia, yet everyone listened with interest and emotion. 
Tliey who were insensible to religion's merits, were still en- 
chanted with Ambrosio's oratory. All found their attention 
■.rresistibly attracted while he spoke, and the most profound 
silence reigned through the crowded aisles. Even J^orenzo 
could not resist the charm ; he forgot that Antonia was 
seated near him, and listened to the preacher with undivided 
attention. 

In language nervous, clear, and simple, the monk expa- 
tiated on the beauties of religion. He explained some ab- 
struse parts of the sacred writings in a style that carried 
with it universal conviction. His voice, at once distinct 
and deep, was fraught witli all the terrors of the tempest, 
while he inveighed against the vices of humanity, and de- 



THE FEMALE MONK 21 

scribed the punishments reserved for them in a future 
state. Every hearer looked back upon his past offenses, 
and trembled ; the thunder seemed to roll, whose bolt was 
destined to crush him, and the abyss of eternal destruction 
to open before his feet. But when Ambrosio, changing his 
thi'MK', spoke of the excellence of an unsullied conscience, 
of the glorious prospect which eternity presented to the soul 
untainted with reproach, and of the recompense which 
awaited it in the regions of everlasting glory, his auditors 
felt their scattered spirits insensibly return. They tbrevr 
themselves with confldeuce upon the mercy of their judge ?. 
they hung with delight upon the consoling words of the 
preacher ; and while his full voice swelled into melody, they 
were transported to those happy regions which he painted to 
their imaginations in colors so brilliant and glowing. 

The discourse was of considerable length ; yet, when ft 
concluded, the audience grieved that it had not lasted longer. 
Though the monk had ceased to speak, enthusiastic silence 
still prevailed through the church. At length the charm 
gradually dissolving, the general admiration was expressed 
in audible terms. As Ambrosio descended from the pulpit, 
his auditors crowded round him, loaded him with blessings, 
threw themselves , at his feet, and kissed the hem of his 
garment. He passed on slowly, with his hands crossed de- 
voutly upon his bosom, to the door opening into the abbey 
chapel, at which his monks waited to receive him. He as- 
cended his steps, and then, turning towards his followers, 
addressed to them a few words of gratitude and exhortation. 
While he spoke, his rosary, composed of large grains of 
amber, fell from his hands, and dropped among the sur- 
rounding multitude. It was seized eagerly, and immedi- 
ately divided amidst the spectators. Whoever became a pos- 
sessor of a bead, preserved it as a sacred relic ; and had 
it been the chaplet of the thrice-blessed St. Francis himself, 
it could not have been disputed with greater vivacity. The 



22 KOSAKK) ; OK, 

abbot, smiling at their eagerness, pronounced his benediction 
and quitted the church, while luimility dwelt upon every 
feature. Dwelt she also in Jiis heart? 

A^ntonia's eyes followed liim with anxiety. As the door 
closed after him, it seemed to her as she had lost some one 
essential to her happiness. A tear stole \a silence down Ijer 
cheek. 

" He is separated from the world ! " said she to herself ; 
" perhaps I shall never see him more ! " 

As she wiped away the tear, Lorenzo obsei-ved her action. 

" Arc you satisfied witli our orator?" said he ; "or do you 
think tliat Madrid over-rates his talents? " 

Antonia's heart was so filled with admiration for the 
monk, that she eagerly seized the opportunity of speaking 
of him ; besides, as she now no longer considered Lorenzo as 
an absolute stranger, she was less embarrassed by her ex- 
cessive timidity. 

" Oh ! he far exceeds all my expectations," answered she ; 
" till this moment, I had no idea of the powers of eloquence. 
But when he spoke, his voice inspired me with such interest, 
such esteem, I might almost say such affection for him, that 
I am myself astonished at the acuteness of my feelings." 

Lorenzo smiled at the strength of her expressions. 

"You are young, and just entering into life," said he; 
" your heart, new to the world, and full of warmth and sen- 
sibility, receives its first impressions with eagerness. Art- 
less yourself, you suspect not others of deceit ; and viewing 
the world through the medium of your own truth and inno- 
cence, you fancy all who surround you to deser^'e your con- 
fidence and esteem. "What pity that these gay visions must 
soon be dissipated ! "What pity, that you must soon discover 
the baseness of mankind, and guard against j'our fellow- 
creatures as against your foes ! " 

"Alas! sevior," replied Antonia, "the misfortunes of my 
parents have already placed before me but too many sad 



THE FEMALE MONK 23 

examples of the perfidy of the world ! Yet surely iu the 
present instance the warmth of sympathy cannot have de- 
ceived me." 

"In ihe present instance, I allow that it has not. Ambro- 
sio's character is perfectly without reproach ; and a man who 
lias passed the whole of hislije within the walls of a convent, 
cannot have found the opportunity to he guilty, even were 
he possessed of the inclination. But now, when, obliged by 
the duties of his situation, lie must enter occasionally into 
the world, and be tlirown into tlie way of temptation, it is 
now that it behoves him to slio^v the brilliance of his virtue., 
The trial is dangerous ; he is just at that period of life when 
the passions are most vigorous, unbridled, and despotic ; 
his established reputation will mark him out to seduction as 
an illustrious victim ; novelty will give atlditional charms to 
the allurements of pleasure ; and even tlie talents with which 
navuie has endowed him will contribute to his ruin, by facili- 
talmg the means of obtaining his object. Very few would 
return victorious from a contest so severe." 

"Ah ! surely Ambrosio will ba one of those few." 

"Of that I have myself no doubt ; by all accounts, he is 
h.a exception to mankind in general, and envy would seek in 
vain for a blot upon his character." 

" Senpr, you delight me by this assurance ! It encouragfes 
me to indulge my prepossession in his favor ; and you know 
not with what pain I should have tepressed the sentiment ! 
Ah ! dearest aunt, entreat my mother to choose him for our 
confessor." 

" I entreat her ! " replied Leonella ; " I promise you that I 
shall do no such thing. I do not like this same Ambrosio 
in the least ! he has a look of severity about him that made 
me tremble from head to foot. Were he my confessor, I 
should never have the courage to avow one half of my pecca- 
dilloes, and then I should be in a rare condition ! I never 
saw such a stern-looking mortal, and hope that I never shall 



24 EOSAEIO ; OR, 

see such another. His description of the devil, God bless us ! 
almost terrified me out of mj'wits, and when he si)oke about 
sinners, he seeined as if he was ready to eat tlicm." 

' '- You are right, senora," answered Don Christoval. " Too 
great severity is said to be Ambrosio's only fault. Ex- 
empted himself from human failings, he is not sufflciently 
indulgent to those of otliei's ; and though strictly just and 
disinterested in his decisions, his government of the monks 
has already shown some proofs of his iuttexibility. But the 
crowd has nearly dissipated ; will you permit us to attend 
you home ? " 

" O Christ ! seiior,'' exclaimed Leonella, affecting to blush ; 
" I would not suffer such a thing for the universe ! If I came 
home attended by so gallant a cavalier, my sister is so scrupu- 
lous that she would read me an hour's lecture, and I should 
never hear the last of it. Besides, I rather wish you not to 
make your proposals JList at present." 

" My proposals? I assure yon, senora — -' 

"Oh! seiior, I believe that your assurances of impatience 
are all very true ; but really I must desire a little respite. It 
would not be quite so delicate in me to accept your hand at 
first sight." 

" Accept my hand ! As I hope to live and breathe—" 

" Oh ! dear seiior, press me no furthei', if you love me ! I 
shall consider your obedience as a> proof of your affection ; 
you shall Miear from me to-morrow, and so farewell. But 
pi-ay, cavaliers, may I not inquire your names?" 

" My friends," replied Lorenzo, " is the Conde d'Ossorio, 
and mine Lorenzo de Medina." 

" 'Tis sufficient. Well, Don Lorenzo, I shall acquaint my 
sister with your obliging offer, and let you know the result 
with all expedition. Where may I send to you?" 

"I am always to be found at the Medina palace." 

"You may depend upon hearing from me. Farewell, 
cavaliers. Seiior Conde, let me entreat you to moderate the 



THE FEMALE MONK 25 

excessive ardor of your passion. However, to prove that I 
am not displeased with you, and prevent your abandoning 
yourself to despair, receive this mark of my affection, and 
sometimes bestow a thought upon the absem Leonella." 

As she said this, she extended a lean and wrjnkled hand ; 
which her supposed admirer kissed with such sorry gi-ace and 
constraint so evident, that Lorenzo with difficulty repressed 
his inclination to laugh. Leonella then hastened to quit the 
church: the lovely Anton ia followed her in silence ; but when 
she reached the porch, she turned involuntai'ily and cast back 
her eyes toward Lorenzo. He bowed to her, as bidding hei 
farewell ; she returned the compliment and hastily withdrew. 

" So, Lorenzo," said Don Christoval, as soon as they were 
alone, "you have procured me an agreeable intrigue! To 
favor you I' designs upon Antonia, I obligingly make a few- 
civil speeclies which mean nothing, to the aunt, and at the end 
of an hour I find myself upon the brink of matrimony ! How 
will you reward me for having suffered so grievously for your 
sake ? What can you repay me for having kissed the leathern 
paw of that confounded old witch? Diavolo ! She has left 
such a scent upon my lips, that I shall smell of garlic for this 
month to come ! As I pass along the Prado, I shall be taken 
for a walking omelet, or some large onion running to seed ! " 

" I confess, my poor count,'" replied Lorenzo, " that your 
service has been attended with danger ; yet am I so fai' from 
supposing it to be past all endurance, that I shall probably 
solicit, you to carry on your amours still further." 

" From that petition, I conclude that the little Antonia has 
made some impression upon you." 

"I cannot express to you how much I am charmed with 
her. Since my father's death, my uncle the Duke de Medina 
has signified to me his wishes to see me married ; I have till 
now eluded his hints, and refused to understand them : but 
what I have seen this evening — " 

"Well, what have you seen this evening? Why surely, 



26 EOSAEIO ; OR, 

Don Lorenzo, you cannot be mad enough to think of making 
a wife out of this grancl-daughter of ' as honest a painstaking 
shoemaker as any in Cordova' ?" 

" You forget that she is also the grand-daughter of the late 
Marquis de las Cisternas. I must assure you that I never 
beheld a woman so interesting as Antonia." 

" Very possibly ; but you cannot mean to marry her?" 

" Why not, my dear Condd? I shall have wealth enough 
for both of us, and you know that my uncle thinks liberally 
upon the subject. From what I have seen of Raymond de 
las Cisternas, I am certain that he will readily acknowledge 
Antonia for his niece. Her birth, therefore, will be no 
objection to my offering her my hand. I should be a villain, 
could I thiuk of her on any other terms than marriage ; and 
in truth she seems possessed of every quality requisite to make 
me happy in a wife — young, lovely, gentle, sensible — " 

" Sensible? Why, she said nothing but Yes and No." 

" She did not say mucli more, I must confess — but then 
she always said Yes or No in the right place." 

"Did she so? Oh! your most obedient! That is using 
aright lover's arguuieut, and I dare dispute no longer with so 
profound a casuist. Suppose we adjourn to the comedy ? " 

"It is out of my power. I only arrived last night at 
Madrid, and have not yet liad an opportunity of seeing my 
sister. You know that lier convent is in this street, and I 
was going thither when the crowd which I saw thronging into 
this church excited my curiosity to know what was the matter. 
I shall now pnrsue my first intention, and probably pass the 
evening with my sister at the parlor grate." 

" Your sister in a convent, say you ? Oh ! very true, I had 
forgotten. And how does Donna Agnes? I am amazed, 
Don Lorenzo ! How could you possibly think of immuring 
so ciiarming a girl within the walls of a cloister?" 

" I think of it, Don Christoval ? How can you suspect me 
of such barbarity? You are conscious that she took the veil 



THE FEMALE MONK 27 

by her own desire, and that particular circumstances made her 
wish for a sechision from the world. I used every means in 
my power to induce her to change her resolution ; the en- 
deavor was fruitless, and I lost a sister ! " 

" The luclfier fellow you. I think, Lorenzo, you were a 
considerable gainer by that loss ; if I remember riglit, Donna 
Agnes had a portion of ten thousand pistoles, half of which 
reverted to your lordship. By St. Jago ! I wish that I had 
fifty sisters in the same predicament : I should consent to 
losing them every soul without much heartburning." 

" How, Cond6 ? " said Lorenzo, in an angry voice ; do you 
suppose me base enough to liave influenced my sister's retire- 
ment ? do you suppose that the despicable wish to make myself 
master of her fortune could — " 

" Admirable ! Courage, Don Lorenzo ! Now the man is 
all in a blaze. God grant that Antonia may soften that fiery 
temper, or we shall certainly cut each other's throat before the 
mouth is over ! However, to prevent such a tragical eata- 
dtrophe for the present, I shall make a retreat and leave you 
master of the field. Farewell, my knight of Mount JEtna ! 
Moderate that inflammable disposition, and remember that, 
whenever it is necessary to make love to yonder harridan, you 
may reckon upon my services." 

He said, and darted out of the cathedral. 

"How wild-bra,ii'ed ! " said Lorenzo. With so excellent 
a heart, what pity that he possesses so little solidity of 
judgment ! " 

The night was now fast advancing. The lamps were not 
yet lighted. The faint beams of the rising moon scarcely could 
pierce through the Gothic obscurity of the church. Lorenz© 
found himself unable to quit the spot. The void left in his 
bosom by Antonia's absence, and his sister's sacrifice, which 
Don Christoval had just recalled to his imagination, created 
that melancholy of mind, which accorded but too well with 
.he religious gloom surrounding him. He was still leaning 



28 ROSARIO ; OK, 

against the seventh cohimu from the pulpit. A soft and 
cooling air breathed along the solitary aisles ; the moonbeauis 
darting into the church through painted windows tinged the 
fretted roofs and massy pillars with a tliousand various shades 
of light and colors. Universal sileuce prevailed around, only 
interrupted by the occasional closing of doors in the adjoining 
abbey. 

The calm of the hour and solitude of the place contributed 
to nourish Lorenzo's disposition to melancholy. He threw 
himself upon a seat which stood near him, and abandoned 
liimself to the delusions of his fancy. He thought of his 
imion with Antonia ; he thouglit of the obstacles which might 
oppose his wishes ; and a thousand changing visions floated 
before his fancy, sad 'tis true, but not unpleasing. .Sleep 
insensibly stole over him, and the tranquil solemnity of his 
mipd when awake for a while continued to influence his 
slumbers. 

He still fancied himself to be in the church of the Capuchins ; 
but it was no longer dark and solitary. Multitudes of silver' 
lamps shed splendor from the vaulted roofs, accompanied by 
the captivating chant of distant choristers ; the organ's melody 
swelled through the church ; the altar seemed decorated as 
for some distinguished feast ; It was surrounded by a brilliant 
company, and near it stood Antonia arrayed in bridal white, 
and blushing with all the charms of virgin modesty. 

Half-hoping, half-fearing, Lorenzo gazed upon the scene 
before him . Suddenly the door leading to the abbey unclosed ; 
and he saw, attended by a long train of monks, the preacher 
advance, to whom he had just listened with so much admira- 
tion. He drew near Antonia. 

' ' And where is the bridegroom ? " said the imaginary friar. 

Antonia seemed to look round the chnrch with anxiety. 
Involuntarily the youth advanced a few steps from his con- 
cealment. She saw him ; the blush of pleasure glowed upon 
her cheek ; with a graceful motion of her hand she beckoned 



THE FEMALE MONK 29 

to him to advance. He disobej'cd not the command : he flew 
towards her, and threw himself at her feet. 

She retreated for a moment; then gazing upon, him with 
utterable delight, " Yes," she exclaimed, " my bridegroom ! 
my destined bridegroom ! " 

She said, and hastened to throw herself into his arms ; but 
before he had time to receive hei', an miknown rushed between 
them ; his form was gigantic ; his complexion was swarthy ; 
his eyes fierce and terrible ; liis mouth breathed out volumes 
of fire, and on his forehead was written in legible characters 
— "Pride! Lust! Inhumanity!" 

Antonia shrieked. The monster clasped her in his arms, 
anil, springing with her upon the altar, tortured jier with his 
odious caresses. She endeavored in vain to escape from his ' 
embrace. .Lorenzo flew to her succor ; but, ere he had time to 
reach her, a loud burst of thunder was heard. Instantly, 
the cathedral seemed crumbling into pieces; the monks be- 
took themselves to flight, shrieking fearfully ; the lamps 
were extinguished ; the altar sank down, and in its place ap- 
peared an abyss vomiting forth clouds of flame. Uttering a 
loud and terrible cry, the monster plunged into the gulf, and 
in his fall, attempted to drag Antonia with him. He strove 
in vain. Animated by supernatural powers, she disengaged 
herself from his embrace ; but her white robe was left in 
his possession. Instantly a wing of brilliant splendor 
spread itself from either of Antonia's arms. She darted 
upwards, and while ascending cried to Lorenzo, " Friend 1 
we shall meet above ! " 

At the same moment the roof of the cathedral opened ; 
harmonious voices pealed along the vaults ; and the glory 
into which Antonia was received, was composed of rays of 
such dazzling brightness, that Lorenzo was unable to sus- 
tain the gaze. His sight failed, and lie sank upon the 
ground. 

When he awoke, he found himself extended upon the 



30 EOSAEIO ; OR, 

pavement of the church : it was iUuminated, and the chant 
of hymns sounded from a distance. For a while Lorenzo 
could not persuade himself that what he had just witnessed 
had been a dream, so strong an impression had it made up- 
on his fancy. A little recollection convinced him of its 
fallacy : the lamps had been lighted during his sleep, and 
the music which he heard was occasioned by the monks, 
who were celebrating their vespers in the abbey chapel. 

Lorenzo rose, and prepared to bend his steps towards his 
sister's convent, his mind fully occupied by the singularity 
of his dream. He already drew near the porch, when his 
attention was attracted l y perceiving a shadow moving upon 
the opposite wall. He looked curiously round, and soon 
descried a man wrapped up in his cloak, who seemea care- 
fully examining whether his actions were observed. Very 
few people are exempt from the influence of curiosity. The 
unknown seemed anxious to conceal his business in the 
cathedral ; and it was this very circumstance which made 
Lorenzo wish to discover what he was about. 

Our hero was conscious that he had no right to pry into the 
secrets of this unknown cavalier. 

" I will go," said Lorenzo. And Lorenzo stayed where he 
was. 

The shadow thrown by the column effectuall}' concealed him 
from the stranger, who continued ^o advance with caution. 
At length he drew a letter from beneath his cloak, and hastily 
placed it beneath a colossal statue of St. Francis. Then retir- 
ing with precipitation, he concealed himself In a part of the 
church at a considerable distance from that in ^vhich the image 
stood. 

" So ! " said Lorenzo to himself ; " this is only some foolish 
love affair. I believe I may as well be gone, for I can do 
no good in it." 

In truth, till that moment it never came into his head that 
he could do any good in it ; but he tliouglit it necessary to 



THE FEMALE MONK 31 

make some little excuse to himself for having indulged his 
curiosity. He now made a second attempt to retire from the 
church. For this time he gained the porch without meeting 
with any impediment ; but it was destined that he should 
pay it another visit that night. As he' descended the steps 
leading into the street, a cavalier rushed against him with 
such violence, that both were nearly overturned by the con- 
cussion. Lorenzo put his hand to his sword. 

"How now, seiior?" said he; what mean you oy this 
rudeness?" 

" Ha ! is it you, Medina?" replied the new comer, whom 
Lorenzo, by his voice, now recognized for Don Christoval. 
" You are the luckiest fellow in the universe, not to have left 
the church before my return. lu^ in, my dear lad ; they will 
be here immediately ! " 

"Who will be here?" 

" The old hen and all her pretty little chickens. In, I say ; 
and then you shall know the whole history." 

Lorenzo followed him into the cathedral, and they concealed 
themselves behind the statue of St. Francis. 

"And now," said our hero, " may I take the liberty of 
asking what is the meaning of all this haste and rapture ? " 

"Oh, Lorenzo, we shall see such a glorious sight! The 
prioress of St. Clare and her whole train of nuns are coming 
hither. You are to know, that the pious Father Ambrosio 
(the Lord reward him for it !) will upon no account move out 
of his own precincts. It being absolutely necessary for every 
fashionable convent to have him for its confessor, the nuns are 
in consequence obliged to visit him at tlie abbey ; since, when 
the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must needs 
go to the mountain. Now the prioress of St. Clare, the 
better to escape the gaze of such impure eyes as belong to 
yourself and your humble servant, thinks proper to bring her 
holy flock to confession in the dusk ; she is to be admitted 
into the abbey chapel by yon private door. The porteress of 



32 ROSARIO ; OR, 

St. Clare, who is a worthy old soul and a particular friend of 
mine, has just assured me of their being here in a few moments. 
There is news for you, you rogue ! We shall see some of the 
prettiest faces in Madrid ! " 

' ' In truth, Chrisioval, we shall do no such thing. The nuns 
are always veiled." 

" No ! no ! I know better. On entering a place of worship, 
they ever take off their veils, from respect to the saint to 
whom 'tis dedicated. But hark, they are coming ! Silence ! 
silence ! Observe, and be convinced." 

" Good ! " said Lorenzo to himself ; " I may possibly dis- 
cover to whom the vows are addressed of this mysterious 
stranger.'' 

Scarcely had Don Christoval ceased to speak, when the 
domina of St. Clare appeared, followed by a long procession 
of nuns. Each upon entering the church took off her veil. 
The prioress crossed her hands upon her bosom, and made a 
profound reverence as she passed the statue of St. Francis, the 
patron of this cathedral. The nuns followed her example, 
and several moved onwards without having satisfied Lorenzo's 
curiosity. He almost began to despair of seeing the mystery 
cleared up, when, in paying her respects to St. Francis, one 
of the nuns happened to drop her rosary. As she stooped to 
pick it up the light flashed full in her face. At the same 
moment she dexterously removed the letter from beneath the 
image, placed it in her bosom, and hastened to resume her 
rank in the procession. , 

" Ha ! " said Christoval, in a low voice, " here we have 
some little intrigue, no doubt." 

" Agnes, by Heaven ! " cried Lorenzo. 
""What, j'our sister? Diavolo ! Then somebody, T sup- 
pose, will have to pay for our peeping." 

" And shall pay for it without delay," replied the incensed 
brother. 

The pious procession had now entered the abbej^ ; the door 



THE FEMALE MONK 33 

was already closed upon it. The unknown immediately 
quitted his concealment, and hastened to leave the church ; ere 
he could effect his intention, he descried Medina stationed in 
his passage. The stranger hastily retreated, and drew Lis 
hat over his eyes. 

"Attempt not to fly me ! " exclaimed Lorenzo; " I will 
know who you are, and what were the contents of that 
letter." 

' ' Of that letter ? " repeated the unknown. ' ' And by what 
title do you ask the question ? " 

" By a title of which I am now ashamed ; but it becomes 
not you to question me. Either reply circumstantially to my 
demands, or answer me with your sword." 

" The latter method will be the shortest," rejoined the other, 
drawing his rapier ; ' ' come on, seiior Bravo ! I am ready." 

Burning with rage, Lorenzo hastened to the attack ; the 
antagonists had already exchanged several passes, before 
Christoval, who at that moment had more sense than either 
of them, could throw himself between their weapons. 

"Hold! hold! Medina!" he exclaimed ; "remember the 
consequences of shedding blood on consecrated ground ! " 

The stranger immediately dropped his sword. 

"Medina?" he cried. "Great God, is it possible? Lo- 
renzo, have you quite forgotten Raymond de las Cisternas ? " 

Lorenzo's astonishment increased with every succeeding 
moment. Raymond adA^anced towards him ; but with a look 
of suspicion he drew back his hand, which the other was 
preparing to take. 

" You liere. Marquis? "What is the meaning of all this? 
You engaged in a clandestine correspondence with my sister, 
whose affections — " 

"Have ever been, and still are mine. But this is no fit 
place for an explanation. Accompany me to my hotel, and 
you shall know everything. Who is that with you ? " 



34 ROSARio ; OR, 

" One whom I believe you to have seen before," replied 
Don Christoval, " though piobably not at church." 

" The Coud6 d'Ossorio?" 

" Exactly so, Marquis." 

" I have no objection to entrusting you with my secret, 
for I am sure that I may depend upon your silence." 

" Then your opinion of me is better' than my own, and 
therefore I must beg leave to decline your confidence. Do 
you go your own way, and I shall go mine. Marquis, where 
are you to be found ? " 

"As usual, at the Hotel de las Cisternas ; but remember 
that I am incognito, and that, if you wish to see me, you 
must ask for Alphonso d'Alvarada." 

"Good! good! Farewell, cavaliers!" said Don Christ- 
oval, and instantly departed. 

"You, Marquis," said Lorenzo, in the accent of surprise ; 
"you, Alphonso d'Alvarada?" 

"Even so, Lorenzo; but unless you have already heard 
my story from youi' sister, 1 have much to relate that will 
astonish you. Follow me, therefore, to my hotel without 
delay." 

At this moment the porter of the Capuchins entered the 
cathedral to lock up the doors for the night. The two noble- 
men instantly withdrew, and hastened with all speed to the 
Palace de las Cisternas. 

"Well, Antonia," said the aunt, "as soon as she had' 
quitted the church, "what think you of our gallants? Don 
Lorenzo really seems a very obliging good sort of J'oung 
man;, he paid you some attention, and nobody knows what 
may come of it. But as to Don Christoval, I protest to you 
he is the very phcenix of politeness ; so gallant ! so well 
bred ! so sensible, and so pathetic ! Well, if ever man can 
prevail upon me to break my vow never to marry, it will be 
that Don Christoval. You see, niece, that everything turn". 



THE FEMALE MONK 36 

out exactly as I told you ; the very moment that I produced 
myself in Madrid, I knew that I should be surrounded by 
admirers. When I took off my veil, did you see, Antonia, 
what an effect tlie action had upon the Cond6? And when 
I presented Jiim my hand, did yon observe the air of piissiou 
with which he kissed it? If ever I witnessed real love, I 
then saw it impressed upon Don Christoval's countenance ! " 

Now Antonia had observed the air with which Don Christ- 
oval had kissed this same hand, but as she drew conclusionF' 
from it somewhat different from her aunt's, she was wist 
enough to hold her tongue. As this is the only instance 
known of a woman's ever having done so, it was judged 
worthy to be recorded here. 

The old lady continued her discourse to Antonia in the 
same strain, till tliey gained the street in which was their 
lodging. Here a crowd collected before their door permitted 
them not to approach it ; and placing themselves on the 
opposite side of the street, they endeavored to make out 
what had drawn all these people together. After some 
minutes the crowd formed itself into a circle, and now An-, 
tonia perceived in the midst of it a woman of extraordinary 
height, who wliirled herself repeatedly round and round, 
using all sorts of extravagant gestures. Her dress was com- 
posed of shreds of various colored silks and linens fan- 
tastically arranged, yet not entirely without taste. Her 
head was covered with a kind of turban ornamented with 
vine-leaves and wild flowers. She seemed much sunburnt, 
and her complexion was of a deep olive, her eyes looked fiery 
and strange ; and in hei- hand siie bore a long black rod, 
with which she at intervals traced a variety of singular 
figures upon the ground, round about which she danced 
in all the eccentric attitudes of folly and delirium. Sud- 
denly she broke off her dance, wliirled herself round thrice 
with rapidity, and after a moment's pause she sang the 
gipsy's songo 



36 ROSABIO ; OR, 

" Dear aunt ! " said Antoiiia, when the stranger had fin- 
ished, " is she not mad?" 

"Mad? Not she, child, she is only wicked. She is a 
gipsy, a sort of vagabond, whose sole occupation is to run 
about the country telling lies, and pilfering from those who 
come by their money honestly. Out upon such vermin ! If 
I were King of Spain, every one of them should be burnt 
alive who was found in my dominions after the next three 
weeks." 

These words were pronounced so audibly, that they reached 
the gipsy's ears. She immediately pierced through all the 
crowd, and made towards the ladies. She saluted tliem 
thrice in the Eastern fashion, and then addressed herself to 
Antonia. 

"Lady, gentle lady] linow, 
1 your future fate can show; 
Give your hand, and do not fear; 
Lady, gentle lady, hear! " 

" Dearest aunt ! " said Antonia, "indulge me this once! 
let me have my fortune told mo." 

" Nonsense, child ! She will tell you nothing but false- 
hoods." 

"No matter; let me at least hear what she has to say. 
Do, my dear aunt, oblige me, I beseech you." 

"Well, well! Antonia, since you are so bent upon the 
thing — Here, good woman, you sliall see the hands of 
both of us. There is money for you, and now let me hear 
my fortune." 

As she said this, she drew off her glove, and presented 
her hand. The gipsy looked at it for a moment, and then 
made this reply — 

THE GIPSY. 

"Your fortune? You are now so old, 
Good dame, that 'tis already told; 
Yet, for your money, in a trice 
i will repay you in advioo. 




Mmt /' 



THE FEMALE MONK 37 

ABtonished at your childish vanity, 
Your frionde all tax you with insanity, 
And grieve to see you use your art 
To catch some youthful lover's heart. 
Believe me, damo, when all is done, 
Your ago will still be fifty-one; 
And men will rarely take a hint 
Of love from two grey eyes that squint- 
Take then my counsels; lay aside 
Tour paint and patches, lust and pride, 
And on the poor those suras bestow, 
Which now are spent on uselese show. 
Think on your Maker, not a suitor; 
Think on your past faults, not on future; 
And think Time's scythe will quickly mow 
The few red hairs which deck your brow." 

The audience rang with laughter during the gipsy's ad- 
dress ; and fifty-one, squinting eyes, red hair, paint and 
patches, etc., were bandied from mouth to mouth. Leonella 
was ahnost choked with passion, and loaded her malicious 
adviser with the bitterest reproaches. TIic swarthy prophet- 
ess for some time listened to her with a contemptuous smile, 
at length she made a short answer, and then turned to An- 
tonia. 

THE GIPSY. 

** Peace, lady ! What I said was true. 
And now, my lovely maid, to you; 
Give me your hand, and let me sec 
Your future doom, and Heaven's decree." 

In imitation of Leonella, Antonia drew off her glove, and 
presented her white hand to the gipsy, who, havhig gazed 
upon it for some time with a mingled expression of pity and 
astonishment, pronounced her oracle in the following words, — 

THE GIPSY. 

" Jesue! what a palm is there! 
Chaste, and gentle, young and fair, 
Perfect mind and form possessing, 
You would be some good man's blessing; 
But^alas! this line discovers 
4.t»^*. deiitroction o'er you hovers; 



38 ROSAKTO 5 OR? 

Lustful man aud crafty devil 
Will combine to work your evil; 
And from earth by Borrows driven, 
Soon your soul must speed to beaven= 
Yet your Bufferings to delay, 
Well remember what I say. 
When you once more virtuous see 
Tlian belonge to man to be, 
One, whose self no crimes assailing, 
Pities not his neighbor's failing, 
Call the gipsy's words to mind; 
Though he eeerii so good and kind. 
Fair cxtoriora oft will hide 
Hearts that swell with Iub' and pride. 
Lovely maid, with tears I leave you; 
Let not ray prediction grieve you ; 
liather, with submission bending, 
Calmly wait distress impending, 
And expect eternal bliss 
In a better world than this." 

Hfiving :.\a\C this, the gipsy again whirled herself ix)und 
thricT^ n.iul then hastened out of the street with frantic gest 
urco The crowd followed licr ; and Elvira's door being now 
unemharrassed, Leonella entered the house, out of humor 
with the gipsy, with her niece, and with the people ; in short, 
with everybody but herself and licr charming cavalier. The 
gipsy's predictions had also considerably affected Antonia ; 
but the impression soon wore off, and in a few hours she had 
forgotten the adventure, as totally as had it never taken 
place o 





The monks having attended their abbot to the door o£ his 
cell, he dismissed them with an air of conscious superiority, 
in which humility's semblance combated witli the reality of 
pride. 

He was no sooner alone, than he gave free loose to the 
indulgence of his vanity. When he remembered the en- 
thusiasm whicli liis discourse had excited, his heart swelled 
with rapture, and his imagination presented him with splendid 
visions of aggrandizement. He looked round him with ex- 
ultation ; and pride told him loudly, that he was superior to 
the rest of his fellow-creatures. 

" Who," thought he, " who but myself has passed the 
ordeal of youth, yet sees no single stain upon his conscience? 
Who else has subdued the violence of strong passions and 
.'HI impetuous temperament, and submitted even from the 
dawn of life to voluntary retirement? I seek for such a man 
in vain. I see no one but myself possessed of such resolu- 
tion. Religion cannot boast Ambrosio's equal ! How power- 
ful an effect did my discourse produce upon its auditors ! 
How tliey crowded round me ! How tliey loaded me with 
benedictions, and pronounced me the sole uncornipted pillar 
of the church! What then now is left for me to do? 
Nothing, but to watch as carefully over the conduct of my 



40 EOSARIO ; OR, 

brethren as I have hitherto watched over my own. Yet 
hold ! May I not be tempted from those paths which till 
now I have pursued without one moment's wandering? Am 
I not a man, whose nature is frail and prone to error? I 
must now abandon the solitude of my retreat ; the fairest 
and noblest dames of Madrid continually present themselves 
at the abbey, and will use no other confessor. I must ac- 
custom my eyes to objects of temptation, and expose myself 
to the seduction of luxury and desire. Should I meet in 
that world which I am constrained to enter, some lovely 
female — lovely as you, Madonna — " 

As he said this, he fixed his eyes upon a picture of the 
Virgin, which was suspended opposite to him ; this for two 
years had been the object of his inc; easing wonder and 
adoration. He paused, and gazed upon it with delight. 

" What beauty ia that countenance ! " he continued, after 
a "silence of some minutes; "how graceful is the turn of 
that head ! what sweetness, yet what majesty, in her divine 
eyes ! how softly her cheek reclines upon her hand ! Can 
the rose vie with the blush of that cheek ? can the lily rival 
the whiteness of that hand? Oh ! if such a creature existed, 
and existed but for me ! Were I permitted to twine round 
my fingers those golden ringlets, and press with my lips the 
treasures of that snowy bosom ! gracious God, should I then 
resist the temptation? Should I not barter for a single 
embrace the reward of my sufferings for thirty years ? Should 
I not abandon — Fool tiiat I am ! Whither do I suffer my 
admiration of this picture to hurry me? Away, impure 
ideas ! Let me remember that woman is for ever lost to me. 
Never was mortal formed so perfect as this picture. But 
even did such exiist, the trial might be too mighty for a com- 
mon virtue; but Ambrosio's is proof against temptation. 
Temptation, did I say? To me it would be none. What 
charms me when ideal and considered as a superior being, 
would disgust mc, become woman, and tainted with all the fail- 



THE FEMALE MONK 41 

ings of mortality. It is not the woman's beauty that fills me 
with such entliusiasm ; it is the painter's skill that I admire ; 
it is the Divinity that I adore. Are not the passions dead in 
mj' bosom ? have I not freed myself from the frailty of man- 
kind ? Fear not, Ambrosio ! Take confidence in the strength 
of your virtue. Enter boldly into the world, to whose fail- 
ings you are superior, reflect that you are now exempted 
from humanity's defects, and defy all the arts of the spirits 
of darkness. They sliall know you for what you are ! " 

Here his reverie was interrupted by three soft knocks at 
the door of his cell. With difficulty did the abbot awake 
from his delirium. The knocking was repeated. 

" "Who is -th£re_?" said Ambrosio at length. 

" It is only Eosario," replied a gentle voice. 

" Enter ! enter, my son ! " 

The door was immediately opened, and Rosario appeared 
with a small basket in his hand. 

Rosario was a young novice belonging to the monastery', 
who in three months intended to make his profession. A 
sort of mystery enveloped this youth, which rendered him at 
once an object of interest and curiosity. His hatred of so- 
ciety, his profound melancholy, his rigid observation of the 
duties of his order, and his voluntary seclusion from the 
world, at his age so unusual, attracted the notice of the 
whole fraternity. He seemed fearful of being recognized, 
and no one had ever seen his face. His head was continually 
muffled up in liis cowl ; yet such of his features as accident 
discovered, appeared the most beautiful and noble. Rosario 
was the only name by which he was known in the monastery. 
No one knew from whence he came, and when questioned 
on the subject, he preserved a profound silence. A stranger, 
whose rich habit and magnificent equipage declared him to 
be of distinguished rank, had engaged tlie monks to receive 
a novice, and had deposited the necessary sums. The next 



42 KosAEio ; OE,' 

day he returned with Rosario, and from that time no more 
had been heard of him. 

The youth had carefully avoided the company of the 
monks ; he answered their civilities with sweetness, but re- 
serve, and evidently showed that his inclination led him to 
solitude. To this general rule the superior was the only ex- 
ception. To him he looked up with a respect approaching 
idolatry ; he sought his company with the most attentive as- 
siduity, and eagerly seized every means to ingfatiate himself 
in his favor. In the abbot's society his heart seemed to be 
at ease, and an air of gaiety pervaded his whole manners 
and discourse. Ambrosio, on his side, did not feel less at- 
tracted towards the youth ; with him alone did he lay aside 
his habitual severity. When he spoke to him, he insensibly 
assumed a tone milder than was usual to him ; and no voice 
sounded so sweet to him as did Rosario's. He repaid the 
youth's attentions by instructing him in various sciences ; the 
novice received his lessons with docility ; Ambrosio was 
every day more charmed with tlie vivacity of his genius, the 
simplicity of his manners, and the rectitude of his heart ; in 
short, he loved him witli all the affection of a father. He 
could not help sometimes indulging a desire secretly to see 
the face of his pupil ; but his rule of self-denial extended 
even to curiosity, and prevented him from communicating 
his wishes to the youth. 

"Pardon my intrusion, father," said Rosario, while he 
placed his basket upon the table; "I come to you a sup- 
plicant. Henring that a dear friend is dangerously ill, I 
entreat your prayers for liis recovery. If supplications can 
prevail upon Heaven to spare him, surely yours must be 
efficacious." 

" Whatever depends upon me, my son, you know that you 
may command. What is your friend's name? " 

" Vincentio della Ronda." 

" 'Tis sufficient. I will not forget him in my prayers, and 



THE FEMALE MONK 43 

may our thrice-blessed St. Francis deign to listen to ray 
intercession ! What have you in your basket, Rosario?" 

" A few of those flowers, reverend father, which I have 
observed to be most acceptable to you. Will you permit 
my arranging them in your chamber?" 

"Your attentions charm me, my son." 

While Eosario dispersed the contents of his basket in 
small vases placed for that purpose in various parts of the 
room, the abbot thus continued tlie conversation. 

" I saw you not in the church this evening, Eosario." 

" Yet I was present, father. I am too grateful for your 
protection to lose an opportunity of witnessing your triumph." 

"Alas! Eosario, I have but little cause to triumph; the 
saint spoke by my mouth ; to iiiiu belongs all tlie merit. It 
seems then you were contented with my discourse?" 

"Contented, say you? Oh! you surpassed yourself! 
Never did I hear such eloquence, save once ! " 

Here the novice heaved an involuntary sigh. 

" When was tiiat once?" demanded the abbot. 

" When you preached upon the sudden indisposition of 
our late superior." 

" I remember it ; that is more than two years ago. And 
were you present? I knew you not at that time, Eosario." 

" 'Tis true, father ; and would to God I had expired ere I 
beheld that day ! What sufferings, what sorrows, should I 
have escaped ! " 

" Sufferings at your age, Eosario ?" 

"Ay, father; sufferings which, if known to you, would 
equally raise your anger and compassion ! Sufferings, which 
form at once the toruient and pleasure of my existence, ! Yet 
in this retreat my bosom would feel tranquil, were it not for 
the tortures of apprehension. O G-od ! O God ! how cruel 
is a life of fear ! Father ! I have given up all ; I have 
abandoned the world and its delights for ever ; nothing now 
remains, nothing now has charms for me but your friend- 



44 BOSARIO ; OR, 

ship, but your affection. If I lose that, father! oh! if I 
lose that, tremble at the effects of my despair ! " 

" You apprehend the loss of my friendship? How has my 
conduct justified this fear? Know me better, Kosario, and 
think me worthy of your confidence. What are your suffer- 
ings? Reveal them to me, and believe that if it is in my 
power to relieve them — " 

" Ah ! 'tis in no one's power but yours. Yet I must not 
let you know them. You would hate me for my avowal ! you 
would drive me from your presence with scorn and ignominy." 

" My son, I conjure you ! J entreat you ! " 

" For pity's sake, inquire no further ! I must not, I dare 
not ! Hark ! the bell rings for vespers ! Father, your bene- 
diction, and I leave you." 

As he said this, he threw himself upon his knees, and 
received the blessing that he demanded. Then pressing the 
abbot's hand to his lips, he started from the ground, and 
hastily quitted the apartment. Soon after Ambrosio de- 
scended to vespers (which were celebrated in a small chapel 
belonging to the abbey) , filled with surprise at the singularity 
of the youth's behavior. 

Vespers being over, the monks retired to their respective 
cells. The abbot alone remained in the chapel to receive the 
nuns of St. Clare. He had not been long seated in the con- 
fessional chair, before the prioress made her appearance. 
Each of the nuns was heard in her turn, while the others 
waited with the domina in the adjoining vestry. Ambrosio 
listened to the confessions with attention , made many exhorta- 
tions, enjoined penance proportioned to each offense, and for 
some time everything went on as usual : till at last one of the 
nuns, conspicuous from the nobleness of her air and elegance 
of her figure, carelessly permitted a letter to fall from her 
bosom. She was retiring unconscious of her loss. Ambrosio 
supposed it to have been written by some one of her relations, 
and picked it up, intending to restore it to her. 



THE FEMALE MONK 45 

" Stay, daughter," said lie ; " you have let fall—" 

At this moment, the paper being already open, his eye 
involuntarily read the first words. He started baclc -with 
surprise. The nun had turned round on hearing his voice : 
she perceived her letter in his hand, and uttering a shriek of 
terror, flew hastily to regain it. 

" Hold ! " said tlie friar in a tone of severity ; " daughter, 
I must read this letter." 

"Then I am lost !" she exclaimed, clasping her hands 
together wildly. 

All color instantly faded from her face ; she trembled with 
agitation, and was oltliged to fold her arms round a pillar of 
the chapel to save herself from siuking upon the floor. In 
the meanwhile, the abbot read the following lines : — 

"All is ready for your escape, my dearest Agnes! At 
twelve to-morron' night I shall expect to find you at the garden- 
door : I have obtained the key, and a few hours will suffice to 
place you in a secure asylum. Let no mistaken scruples 
induce you to reject the certain means of preserving yourself 
and the innocent creature whom you nourish in your bosom. 
Remember that you had promised to be mine long ere you 
engaged yourself to the Church ; that your situation will soon 
be evident to the prying eyes of your companions ; and that 
flight is the only means of avoiiliug the effects of their malev- 
olent resentment. Farewell, my Agnes ! my dear and 
destined wife ! Fail not to be at the garden-door at twelve ! " 

As soon as he had finished, Ambrosio bent an eye stern 
and angry upon the imprudent nun. 

"This letter must to the prioress," said he, and passed 
her. 

His words sounded like thunder to her ears ; she awoke 
from her torpidity only to be sensible of the dangers of her 



46 ROSARIO ; OR, 

situation. Slie followed him hastily, and detained him by 
his garment. 

" Stay! oh, stay!" she cried, in the accents of despair, 
while she threw herself at tlie friar's feet, and bathed them 
with her tears. " Father, compassionate my youth ! Look 
with indulgence on a woman's weakness, and deign to conceal 
my frailty ! The remainder of my life shall be employed in 
expiating this single fault, and your lenity will bring back 
a soul to heaven ! " 

" Amazing confidence ! What ! shall St. Clare's convent 
become the retreat of prostitutes ? Shall I suffer the Church 
of Christ to cherish in its bosom debaucliery and shame ? Un- 
worthy wretch ! such lenity would make me your accomjDlice. 
Mercy would liere bo criminal. You have abandoned yourself 
to a seducer's lust ; you have defiled the sacred habit by your 
impurity ; and still dare you think yourself deserving my 
compassion? Hence, nor detain me longer. "Where is the 
lady prioress?" he added, raising his voice. 

"Hold! father, hold! Hear me but for one moment! 
Tax me not witli impurity, nor think that I have erred from 
the warmth of temperament. Long before I took the veil, 
Eaymond was master of my heart ; he inspired me with the 
purest, tlie most irreproachable passion, and was on the point 
of becoming my lawful luisband. A horrible adventure, and 
the treachery of a relation, separated us from each otlier.' I 
believed him for ever lost to me, and threw myself into a 
convent from motives of despair. Accident again united us ; 
I could not refuse myself the melancholy pleasure of mingliug 
my tears with his. ^Ye met nightly in the gardens of St. 
Clare, and in an unguarded moment I violated my vows of 
chastity. I shall soon become a mother. Reverend Ambrosio, 
take compassion on me ; take comp;ission on the innocent being 
whose existence is attached to mine. If you discover my im- 
prudence to the domina, both of us are lost. The punishment 
which the laws of St. Clare asigu to unfortunates like m;yself 



I'HE FEMALE MONK 47 

is most severe imd cruel. Worthy, worthj' father ! let not your 
own untainted conscience render you unfeeling towards those 
less able to withstand temptation ! Let not mercy be the only 
virtue of which your heart is unsusceptible ! Pity me, most 
reverend! Restore my letter, nor doom me to inevitable 
destruction ! " 

" Your boldness confounds me. Shall /conceal your crime 
— Iwhomyoa have deceived by j'our feigned confession? 
No, daughter, no. 1 will render you a more essential service. 
I will rescue 3'oa from perdition, in spite of yourself. Penance 
and mortification shall expiate your offense, and severity 
force you back to the paths of holiness. What, ho ! Mother 
St. Agtltha ! " 

" Father ! by all that is sacred, by all that is most dear to 
you, I supplicate, I entreat — " 

' ' Release me. I will not hear you. Where is the domiua ? 
Mother St. Agatha, where are you?" 

The door of the vestry opened, and the prioress entered the 
chapel, followed by her nuns. 

" Cruel, cruel ! " exclaimedAgues, relinquishing her hold. 

Wild and desperate, she threw herself upon the ground, 
beating her bosom, and rending her veil in all the delirium of 
despair. The nuns gazed with astonishment upon the scene 
before them. The friar now presented the fatal paper to the 
prioress, informed her of the manner in which he had found it, 
and added, that it was her business to decide what penance 
the delinquent merited. 

While she perused the letter, the domina's countenance 
grew inflamed with passion. What ! such a crime committed 
in her convent, and made known to Ambrosio, to the idol of 
Madrid, to the man whom she was most anxious to impress 
with the opinion of the strictness and regularity of her house ! 
Words were inadequate to express her fury. She was silent, 
and darted upon the prostrate nun looks of menace and 
malignity. 



48 KOSARIO ; OR, 

"Away with her to the convent!" said she at length to 
some of her attendants. 

Two of the oldest nuns now approaching Agnes, raised her 
forcibly from the ground, and prepared to conduct her from 
the chapel. 

" What ! " she exclaimed suddenly, shaking off their hold 
with distracted gestures, " is all hope then lost? Already do 
youdragmetopunisliment? Where are you, Raymond? Oh ! 
save me ! save me ! " Then casting upon the abbot a frantic 
look, — " Hear me ! " she continued, " man of a hard heart ! 
' Hear me, proud, stern , and cruel ! You could have; saved me ; 
you could have restored me to happiness and virtue, but would 
not : you are tlie destroyer of my soul ; you are my mur- 
derer, and on you falls the curse of my death and my unborn 
in fant's ! Insolent in your yet unshaken virtue, you disdained 
tlie prayers of a penitent ; but God will show mercy, though 
you show none. And wliere is the merit of your boasted 
virtue? What temptations have you vanquished? Coward! 
you have fled from it, not opposed seduction. But the day of 
trial will arrive. Oh ! then when you yield to impetuous 
passions ; when you feel that man is weak, and born to trr ; 
when, shuddering, you look back upon your crimes, and solicit 
with terror tlie mercy of your God, oh ! in that fearful moment 
think upon me ! thinli upon your cruelty ! think upon Agnes, 
and despair of pardon ! " 

As she uttered these last words, her strength was exhausted, 
and she sank inanimate upon the bosom of a nun who stood 
near her. She was immediately conveyed from the chapel, 
and her companions followed her. 

Ambrosio had not listened to her reproaches without emotion. 
A secret pang at his heart made him feel that he had treated 
this unfortunate with too great severity. He therefore de- 
tained the prioress, and ventured to pronounce some words 
in favor of the delinquent. 

" The violence of her despair," said he, " proves that at 



THE FEMALE MONK 49 

least vice is not bocoiiie familiar to liev. Pevliaps hj' treating 
her with somewliat less rigor than is generally practised, and 
mitigating in some degree the accustomed penance — " 

" Mitigate it, father?" interrupted the lady prioress : "not 
I, believe me. The laws of our order are strict and severe ; 
they have fallen into disuse of late ; but the crime of Agnes 
shows me the necessity of their revival. I go to signify my 
intention to the convent, and Agnes shall be the first to feel 
the rigor of those laws, which shall be obeyed to the A'ery 
letter. Father, farewell ! "' 

Thus saying, she hastened out of the chapel. 

" I have done my duty," said Ambrosio to himself. 

Still did he not appear perfectly satisfied by this reflection. 
To dissipate the unpleasant ideas which this scene had ex- 
cited in him, upon quitting the chapel, he descended into 
the abbey-garden. In all Madrid there was no spot more 
beautiful, or better regulated. It was laid out with the 
most exquisite taste ; the choicest flowers adorned it in the 
height of luxuriance, and though artfully arranged, seemed 
only planted by the hand of Nature. Fountains, springing 
from basins of white marble, cooled the air with perpetual 
showers ; and the walls were entirely covered by jessamine, 
vines, and honeysuckles. The hour now added to the beauty 
of the scene. The full moon, ranging through a blue and 
cloudless sky, shed upon the trees a trembling lustre, and 
the waters of the fountains sparkled in the silver beam ; a 
gentle breeze breathed the fragrance of orange-blossoms 
along the alleys, and tlfe nightingale poured forth her me- 
lodious murmur from the shelter of an artificial wilderness. 
Thither the abbot bent his steps. ~' ~^ 

In the bosom of this little grove stood a rustic grotto, 
formed in imitation of an hermitage. The walls were con- 
structed of roots of trees, and the interstices filled up with 
moss and ivy. Seats of turf were placed on either side, and 
a natural cascade fell from the rock above. Buried in him- 

KOSABIO 4 



50 ROSABIO ; OR, 

self, the monk approached the spot. The universal calm 
had communicated itself to his bosom, and a voluptuous 
tranquillity spread languor through his soul. 

He reached the hermitage, and was entering to repose 
himself, when he stopped on perceiving it to be already oc- 
cupied. Extended upon one of the banks lay a man in a 
melancholy posture. His head was supported upon his arm, 
and he seemed lost in meditation. The monk drew nearer, 
and recognized Rosario : he watched him iu silence, and 
entered not the hermitage. After some minutes the youth 
raised his eyes, and fixed them mournfully upon the opposite 
wall. 

"Yes," said he, with a deep and plaintive sigh, "I feel 
all the happiness of thy situation, all the misery of my own. 
Happy were I, could I think like thee ! could I look like 
tliee with disgust upon mankind ! could bury mj'self for ever 
in some impenetrable solitude, and forget that the world 
holds beings deserving to be loved ! O God ! -what a bless- 
ing would misanthropy be to me ! " 

" That is a singular thought, Rosario," said the abbot, 
entering the grotto. 

"You here, reverend father?" cried the novice. 

At the same time starting from his place in confusion, he 
drew his cowl hastily over his face. Ambrosio seated him- 
self upon the bank, and obliged the youth to place himself 
by him. 

"You must not indulge this disposition to melancholy," 
said he. " What can possibly have made you view in so 
desirable a light misanthropy, of all sentiments the most 
hateful?" 

"The perusal of these verses, father, which till now had 
escaped my observation. The brightness of the moonbeams 
permitted my reading them ; and, oh ! how I envy the feel- 
ings of the writer ! " 



THE FEMALE MONK 51 

As he said this, he pointed to a marble tablet fixed against 
the opposite wall ; on it were engraved the following lines :— 

INSCRIPTION IN AN HEKMITAGE. 

Whoe'er thou art theae liues now reading, 
Think tot, thcugh from the world receding, 
I joy my lonely days to lead in 

This desert drear, 
That with reraorse a conscience bleeding 

Hath led me here. 

I saw mankind with vice encrusted; 
I saw that IlDnor'a sword was rusted; 
That few for ought but folly lusted; 
That he was still deceived who trusted 

In love or friend; 
And hither came, with men disgusted, 

My life to end- 

In this lone cave, in garments lowly, 

Alike a foe to noisy folly, 

And brow-bent gloomy melancholy, 

I wear away 
My life, and in my office holy 

Consume the day. 

Stranger, if, full of youth and riot, 
As yet no grief has marred thy quiet. 
Thou haply throw'st a scornful eye at 

The Hermit's prayer; 
But it thou hast a cause to sigh at 

Thy faults, or care ; 

If thou haat known false love's vexation, 
Or hast been exiled from thy nation, 
Or guilt affrights thy contemplation. 

And makes thee pine; 
Oh! how must thou lament thy station, 

And envy minel 

"Were it possible," said the friar, " for man to be so 
totally wrapped up in himself as to live in absoliite seclusion 
from human nature, and could yet feel the contented tran- 
quillity which these lines express, I allow that the situation 
would be more desirable, tlum to live in a world so pregnant 
With every vice and every folly. But this never can be the 
Rase. This inscription was merely placed here for the orna- 



52 ROSAKIO ; OR, 

ment of the giotto, and the sentiments and the hermit arc 
equally iinaginaiy. Man was born for societ}'. However 
little he may be attached to the world, he never can wholly 
forget it, or bear to be wholly forgotten by it. Disgusted 
at the guilt or absurdity of mankind, the misanthrope flies 
from it ; he resolves to become an hermit, and buries him- 
self in the cavern of some gloomy rock. While hate in- 
flames his bosom, possibly he may feel contented with his 
situation ; but when his passions begin to cool, when Time 
has mellowed his sorrows, and healed those wounds which 
he bore with him to his solitude, think you that content be- 
comes his companion ? Ah! no, Rosario. No longer sus- 
tained by the violence of his passions, he feels all the mo- 
notony of his way of living, and his heart becomes the prey 
of ennui and weariness. He looks round, and finds him- 
self alone in the universe ; the love of society revives in his 
bosom, and he pants to retiu'n to that world which he has 
abandoned. Nature loses all her charms in his eyes; no one 
is near him to point out her beauties, or share in his ad- 
miration of her excellence and variety. Propped upon the 
fragment of some rock, he gazes upon the tumbling water- 
fall with a vacant eye ; he views, without emotion, the glory 
of the setting sun. Slowly he returns to his cell at evening, 
for no one there is anxious for his arrival ; he has no com- 
fort in his solitary, unsavory meal ; ho throws himself upon 
his couch of moss, despondent and dissatisfied, and wakes 
only to pass a day as joyless, as monotonous as the former." 

"You amaze me, father! Suppose tlitit circumstances 
condemned you to solitude, would not the duties of religion, 
an<l the consciousness of a life well spent, communicate to 
your heart that calm which — " 

" I should deceive myself, did I fancy that they could. 
I am convinced of the contrary, and that all my fortitude 
would not prevent me from yielding to melancholy and dis- 
-^ust. After consuming the day in study, if you knew my 



THE FEMALE MONK 53 

pleasure at meeting my brctliren in the evening ! After 
passing many a long hour in solitude, if I could express to 
you the joy which I feel at once more beholding a fellow- 
creature ! 'Tis in this particular tliat I place the principal 
merit of a monastic institution. It secludes a man from the 
temptations of vice; it produces that leisure necessary for 
tlie proper service of The Supreme ; it spares him the morti- 
flcation-of witnessing the crimes of the -worldly, and yet per- 
mits him to enjoy the blessings of society. And do you, 
Rosario, do you envy an hermit's life ? Can you be thus blind 
to the happiness of your situation? Reflect upon it for a 
moment ! This abbey is become your asylum ; your reg- 
ularity, your gentleness, your talents have rendered you the 
object of universal esteem ; you are secluded from the world 
which you profess to hate ; yet j'ou remain in possession of 
the benefits of society, and that a society composed of the 
most estimable of mankind.'' 

"Father! father! 'tis that which causes my torment. 
Happy had it been for me had my life been passed among 
the vicious and abandoned ; had I never heard pronounced 
the name of virtue. 'Tis my unbounded adoration of religion ; 
'tis my soul's exquisite sensibility of the beauty of fair and 
good that loads me with shame — that hurries me to perdition. 
Oh ! that I had never seen these abbey walls ! " 

" How, Rosario? when we last conversed, you spoke in a 
different tone. Is my friendship then become of such little 
consequence? Had you never seen these abbey walls, you 
never had seen me. Can that really be your wish?" 

' ' Had never seen you ? " repeated the novice, starting from 
the bank, and grasping the friar's hand with a frantic air — 
"You! you! Would to God that liglitning had blasted 
them before you ever met my eyes ! Would to God that I 
were never to see you more, and could forget that I had 
ever seen you ! " 

"With these words he flew hastily from the grotto. Am- 



64 KOSARIO ; OR, 

brosio remained in his former attitude, reflecting on tiie 
youth's unaccountalile behavior. lie was inclined to sus- 
pect the derangement of his senses ; yet the general tenor 
of his conduct, the connection of his ideas, and calnmess of 
his demeanor till the moment of his quitting the grotto, 
seemed to discountenance his conjecture. After a • few 
minutes Rosario returned. He again seated himself upon 
the bank ; he reclined his cheek upon oire hand, and with 
the other wiped away the tears which trickled from his eyes 
at intervals. 

The monk looked upon him with compassion, and forebore 
to interrupt his meditations. Botli obsci-ved for some time 
a profound silence. The nightingale had now taken her 
station upon an orange-tree fronting the hermitage, and 
poured foith a strain tlie most melancholy and melodious. 
Rosario raised his head, and listened to her with attention. 

" It was tluis," said lie, with a deep-drawn sigh, " it was 
thus that, during the last month of her unhappy life, my 
Sister used to sit listening to tlie nightingale. Poor Matilda ! 
she sleeps in the grave, and her broken heart tlu-obs no more 
with passion." 

" You had a sister? " 

" You say right, that I had. Alas ! I have one no longer. 
She sunk beneath the weight of her sorrows in the very 
spring of life." 

"What were those sorrows?" 

"They will not excite your pity. You know not the 
power of those irresistible, those fatal sentiments to which 
her heart was a prey. Father, she loved unfortunately. A 
passion for one endowed with every virtue, for a man — oh !. 
rather let me say for a divinity — proved the bane of her ex- 
istence. His noble form, his spotless character, his various 
talents, his wisdom, solid, wonderful, and glorious, mio-ht 
have warmed the bosom of the most insensible. My sister 



THE If EM ALB MONK 00 

saw him, and dared to love, thoiigii slic never dared to 
hope." 

"If her love was so well bestowed, what forbade her to 
hope the obtaining of its object ? " 

"Father, before he knew her, Julian had already plighted 
his vows to a bride most fair, most heavenly. Yet still my 
sister loved, and for the husband's sake she doated upon the 
wife. One morning she found means to escape from our 
father's house. Arrayed in humble weeds she offered her- 
self as a domestic to the consort of her beloved, and was 
accepted. She was now continually in his presence ; she 
strove to ingratiate herself into his favor ; she succeeded. 
Her attentions attracted Julian's notice : the virtuous are 
ever grateful, and he distinguished Matilda above the rest 
of her comiDanious." 

"And did not your parents seek for her? Did they sub- 
mit tamely to their loss, nor attempt to recover their wander- 
ing daughter ? " 

"Ere they could find her, she discovered herself. Her 
love grew too violent for concealment ; yet she wished not 
for Julian's person, she ambitioned but a share of his heart. 
In an unguarded moment she confessed her affection. What 
was the return? Doating upon his wife, and believing that 
a look of pity bestowed upon another was a theft from what 
he owed to her, he drove Matilda from his presence, he for- 
bade her ever again appearing before him. His severity 
broke her heart ; she returned to her father's, and in a few 
months after was carried to her grave." 

"Unhappy girl! Surely her fate was too severe, and 
Julian was too cruel." 

" Do you think so, father?" cried the novice with vivacitj'. 
" Do you think that he was cruel? " 

" Doubtless I do, and pity her most sincerely." 
"You pity her? you pity her? Oh! father, father! then 
pity me — " 



66 BOSAKIO ; GR, 

The friar started, when, after a moment's pause, Eosario 
added, with a faltering voice,- "For my sufferings are still 
greater. My sister had a friend, a real friend, who pitied > 
the aeuteness of her feelings, nor reproached her with her 
inability to repress them. I — I have no friend. The whole 
wide world cannot furnish a heart that is willing to participate 
in the sorrows of mine." 

As he uttered these words, he sobbed audibly. The friar 
was affected. He took Rosario's hand, and pressed it with 
tenderness. 

" You have no friend, say you? "What then am I? "Why 
will you not confide in me, and what can you fear? My 
severity? Have I ever used it with you? The dignity of 
my habit? Eosario, I lay aside the monk, and bid you con- 
sider me as no other than your friend, your father. "Well 
may I assume that title, for never did parent watcli over a 
child more fondly than I have watched over you. From the 
moment in which I first beheld you, I perceived sensations 
in my bosom till then unknown to me ; I found a delight in 
your society which no one's else could afford ; and when 1 
witnessed the extent of your genius and infcrmation, I re- 
joiced as does a father in the perfections of his son. Then 
lay asidg your fears ; speak to nie with openness : speak to 
me, Eosario, and say that you will confide in me. If my 
aid or my pity can alleviate your distress — " 

"Yours can; yours only can. Ah ! father, how willingly 
would I unveil to you my heart ! how willingly would I declare 
the secret which bows me down with its weight ! ' But oh ! 1 
fear, I fear — " 

""What, my son?" 

"That you should abhor me for my weakness ; that the 
reward of my confidence should be tlie loss of your esteem." 

" How shall I assure you? Eefloct upou the whole of my 
past conduct, upon the paternal tenderness which I have ever 
shown you. Abhor you, Eosario? It is no longer in my 



THE FEMALE MONK 57 

power. To give up your society would be to deprive myself 
of the greatest pleasure of my life. Then reveal to me what 
afflicts you, and believe me while I solemnly swear — " 

" Hold ! " interrupted the novice. " Swear, that whatever 
be my secret, you will not oblige me to quit the monastery 
till my novitiate shall expire." 

" I promise it faithfully ; and as I keep my vows to you, 
may Christ keep His to mankind ! Now then explain this 
mystery, and rely upon my indulgence." 

" I obey you. Know then — oh ! how I tremble to name 
the word ! Listen to me with pitj', reverend Ambrosio ! Call 
up every latent spark of human weakness that )iiay teach 
you compassion for mhie ! Father ! " continued he, throwing 
himself at the friar's feet, and pressing his hand to his lips 
with eagerness, while agitation for a moment choked his 
voice ; " father ! " continued he, in faltering accents, " I am 
a woman ! " 

The abbot started at this unexpected avowal. Prostrate on 
the ground lay the feigned Eosario, as if waiting in silence 
the decision of his judge. Astonishment on the one part, 
apprehension on the other, for some minutes chained them in 
the same attitudes, as they had been touched by the rod of 
some magician. At length recovering from his confusion, 
the monk quitted the_ grotto, and sped with pii'cipitation 
towards the abbey. His action did not escape the suppliant. 
She sprang from the ground ; she Jiastened to follow liim, 
overtook him, threw herself in his passage, and embraced his 
knees. Ambrosio strove in vain to disengage himself from 
her grasp. 

" Do not fly me ! " she cried. Leave me not arbandoned to 
the impulse of despair ! Listen, while I excuse my impru- 
dence ; while I acknowledge my sister's story to be my own ! 
I am Matilda ; you are her beloved." 

If Ambrosio's surprise was great at her first avowal, upon 
hearing her second it exceeded all bounds. Amazed, embar- 



58 ROSARio ; OR, 

rassed, and irresolute, lie found himself incapable of pronounc- 
ing a syllable, and remained in silence gazing upon Matilda. 
This gave her opportuaity to continue her explanation as 
follows : — 

'• Tliink not, Ambrosio, that I come to rob your bride of 
your affections. No, believe me : religion alone deserves you ; 
and far is it from Matilda's wish to draw you from the paths 
of virtue. Wliat I feel for you is love, not licentiousness. 
I sigh to be possessor of your heart, not lust for the enjoyment 
of your person. Deign to listen to my vindication : a few 
moments will convince you that this holy retreat is not polluted 
by my presence, and that you may grant me your compassion 
without trespassing against j^our vows." 

She seated herself. Ambrosio, scarcely conscious of what ' 
he did followed her example, and she proceeded in her dis- 
course. 

' ' I spring from a distinguished family ; nij father was cliief 
of the noble house of Villanegas : he died while I was still an 
infa,nt, and left me sole heiress of his immense possessions.. 
Young and wealthy, I was sought in marriage by the noblest 
youths of Madrid ; but no one succeeded in gaining my affec- 
tions. I had been brought up under the care of an uncle 
possessed of the most solid judgment and extensive erudition : 
he tooli pleasure in communicating to me some portion of his 
knowledge. Under his instructions my understanding ac- 
quired more strength and justness than generally falls to the 
lot of my Gex. The ability of my preceptor being aided by 
natural curiosity, I not only made a considerable progress in 
sciences universally studied, but in others revealed but to few, 
and lying under censure from the blindness of superstition. 
But while my guardian labored to enlarge tlie sphere of my 
knowledge, he carefully inculcated every moral precept ; lie 
relieved me from the shackles of vulgar prejudice ; he pointed 
out the beauty of religion ; he taught me to look with adoration 



THE fe:«ale monk 59 

upon the pure and ^-ivtuous ; and, woe is me ! I have obeyed 
him but too well. 

"With sucli dispositions, judge whetliei- I could observe 
with any other sentiment than disgust the vice, dissipation 
and ignorance which disgrace our Spanish youth. I rejected 
every offer with disdain : my heart remained without a master, 
till chance coiuliicti'd me to the cathedral of the Capuchins. 
Oh ! surely on that day juy guardian angel slumbered, neglect- 
ful of his charge ! Then was it that I first beheld you : you 
supplied the superior's place, absent from illness. You cannot 
but remember the lively enthusiasm which your discourse 
created. Oh ! how I drank your words ! how your eloquence 
seemed to steal me from myself ! I scarcely dared to breathe, 
fearing to lose a syllable ; and while you spoke, methought a 
radiant glory beamed round your head, and j'onr countenance 
shone with the majesty of a god. I retired from the church, 
glovviug with admiration. From tliat moment you became 
the idol of my heart ; the never-changing object of my medi- 
tations. I inquired respecting you. Thereports which were 
made me of your mode of life, of j'our knowledge, piety 
and self-denial, riveted the chains imposed on me by your 
eloquence. I was conscious that there was no longer a void 
in my heart ; that I had found the man whom I had sought 
till then in vain. In expectation of hearing you again, every 
day I visited your cathedral : you remained secluded within 
the abbey walls, and I always withdrew, wretched and dis- 
appointed. The night was more propitious to me, for then 
you stood before me in my dreams ; ^-ou vowed to me eternal 
friendship ; you led me througli the paths of virtue, and 
assisted me to support the vexations of life. The morning 
dispelled these pleasing visions : I aw'/>a3, and found myself 
separated from you by barriers which appeared insurmount- 
able. Time seemed only to increase the strength of my 
passion : I grew melancholy and despondent ; I fled from 
society, and my health declined daily. At length, no longer 



60 KOSARIO ; OR, 

able to exist in tliis state of torture, I resolved to assume the 
disguise in which you see me. My artifice was fortunate ; 
I was received into tlie monastery, and succeeded in gaining 
your esteem. 

" Now, tlien, I should have felt completely happy, had 
not my quiet been disturbed by the fear of detection. The 
pleasure which I received from your society was embittered 
by the'idea that perhaps I should soon be deprived of it ; and 
-my heart throbbed so rapturously at obtaining the marks of 
your friendship, as to convince me that I never should survive 
its loss. I resolved, therefore, not to leave the discovery of 
niy sex to chance — to confess the whole to you, and throw my- 
self entirely on your mercy and indulgence. Ah! Anibrosio, 
can I have been deceived ? Can you be less generous than I 
thought you? I will not suspect it. You will not drive a 
wretch to despair ; I shall still be permitted to see you, to 
converse with you, to adore you. Your virtues shall be my 
example through life ; and, when we expire, our bodies shall 
rest in the same grave." 

She ceased. While she spoke, a thousand opposing senti- 
ments combated in Ambrosio's bosom. Surprise at the singu- 
larity of this adventure, confusion at her aljrupt declaration, 
resentment at her boldness in entering the monastery, and 
consciousness of the austerity with wliich it belioved him to 
reply ; such were the sentiments of which he was aware : but 
there were others whicli did not obtain his notice. He per- 
ceived not that his vanity was flattered by the praises be- 
stowed on his eloquence and virtue ; that he^ felt a secret 
pleasure iu reflecting that a young and seemingly lovely woman 
had for his sake abandoned the world, and sacrificed every 
other passion to that which she had inspired : still less did he 
perceive, th:it his heart throbbed with desire, while his hand 
was pressed gently by Matilda's ivory fingers. 

By degrees he recovered fi'om his confusion ; his ideas 
became Jess bewildered ; he was immediately sensible of the 



THE FEMAI.E MONK. 61 

extreme impropriety should Miitilda be permitted to remain 
iu the abbey after this avowiil of her sex. He assumed an 
air of severity, and drew awaj' his hand. 

" How, lady ! " said he, " can you really hope for my per- 
mission to remain amongst us? Even were I to grant you 
your request, what good could you derive froiii it ? Think you 
that 1 ever can reply to an affection whicli — " 

" No, father, no ! I expect not to inspire you with a love 
like mine. I only wish for the liberty to be near you ; to pass 
some hours of the day in your society ; to obtain j'our com- 
passion, your friendship and esteem. Surely my request is 
not unreasonable?" 

"But reflect, lady! reflect onlj' for a moment on the im- 
propriety of my liarboring a woman in the abl)ey, and that, 
too, a woman who confesses that she loves me. It must not 
be. The risk of your being discovered is too great ; and 1 
will not expose myself to so dangerous a temptation." 

"Temptation, say you? Forget tliat I am a woman, and 
it no longer exists ; consider me only as a friend ; as an un- 
fortunate whose happiness, whose life depends upon your 
protection. Fear not, lest I should ever call to your remem- 
brance that love the most impetuous, the most unbounded, lias 
induced me to disguise my sex ; or that, instigated by desires 
offensive to your vows and my own honor, I should endeavor 
to seduce you from the paths of rectitude. No, Ambrosio ! 
learn to know me better. I love you for your Virtues : lose 
tiiem, and with them you lose my affections. I look upon you 
as a saint : prove to me that you are no more tlian man, and 
I quit you with disgust. Is it then from me that you fear 
temptation? from me in whom the world's dazzling pleasures 
created no other sentiment tlian contempt? from me, whose 
attachment is grounded on your exemption from human 
frailty? Oh ! dismiss such injurious appreliensions ! Think 
nobler of me ; think nobler of yourself. I am incapable of 
seducing you to error ; and surely your virtue is established 



62 liosAKio ; or, 

on a basis too firm to be shaken by unwarranted desires. 
Arabrosio! dearest Ambrosio ! drive me not from your pres- 
ence ; remember yonr promise, and authorize my stay." 

" Impossible, INIatilda ! yovr interest commands me to re^ 
I'use your prayer, since I tremble for you, not for myself. 
After vanquishing the impetuous ebullitions of youth ; after 
passing thirty years in mortification and penance, I might 
safely permit your stay, nor fear your inspiring me with 
warmer sentiments than pity ! but to yourself, remaining in 
the abbej' can produce none but fatal consequences.- You will 
misconstrue my every word and action ; you will seize every 
circumstance with avidity which encourages you to hope the 
return of your affection ; insensibly, your passions will gain a 
superiority over your reasons; and, far from being repressed 
by my presence, every moment which we pass together will 
only serve to irritate and excite them. Believe me, unhappy 
woman ! you possess my sincere compassion. I am convinced 
that you have hitherto acted upon the purest motives ; but 
though you are blind to the imprudence of your conduct, in 
me it would be culpable not to open your eyes. I feel that 
duty obliges my treating you with harshness ; I must reject 
your prayer, and remove every shadow of hope which may aid 
to nourish sentiments so pernicious to your repose. Matilda, 
you must from hence to-morrow." 

" To-morrow, Ambrosio, to-morrow ? Oh ! surely you can- 
not mean it ! you cannot resolve on driving me to despair ! 
you cannot have the cruelty — " 

" You have heard my decision, and it must be obeyed : the 
laws of our order forbid j-our stay. It would be perjury to 
conceal that a woman is within these walls, and my vows will 
oblige me to declare your story to the community. You nnist 
from hence. I pity you, but can do no more." 

Ho pronounced tliese wordsin a faint and trembling voice ; 
then rising from his seat, he would have hastened towards 



THE FEMALE MONK 63 

the monastery. Uttering a loud shriek, Matilda followed, 
and detained him. 

" Stay yet one moment, Ambrosio ! hear me yet speak one 
word ! " 

"I dare not listen. Release me: you know my resolu- 
tion." 

" But one word ! but one last word, and I have done ! " 
" Leave me. Your entreaties are in vain : you must from 
hence to-morrow." 

" Go then, barbarian ! but this resource is still left me." 
As she said this, she suddenly drew a poniard. She rent 
open her garment, and placed the weapon's point against her 
bosom. 

" Father, I will never quit these walls alive. 
" Hold ! hold, Matilda ! What would you do ? " 
" You are determined, so am I : the moment that you leave 
me, I plunge this steel in my heart." 

" Holy St. Francis ! Matilda, have you your senses!' Do 
yoit know the consequences of your action? that suicide is the 
greatest ot crimes? that you destroy your soul? that you lose 
your claim to salvation ? that you prepare for yourself ever 
lasting torments?" 

" Icai-e not, I care not," she replied passionately ; " either 
your hand guides me to paradise, or my own dooms ine to 
perdition. Speak to me, Ambrosio ! Tell me that you will 
conceal my story ; that I shall remain your friend and youi 
companion, or this poniard drinks my blood." 

As she uttered these last words, she lifted her arm, and 
made a motion as if to stab herself. The friar's eyes followed 
with dread the course of the dagger. She had torn open her 
habit, and her neck was half exposed. The weapon's point 
rested upon her breast. The moonbeams darting full upon 
her, enabled the monk to observe the dazzling whiteness of 
her skin. A sensation till then unknown filled his heart witli 
a mixture of anxiety and delight ; a raging fire shot through 



64 EOSARIO I OR, 

every limb ; the blood boiled in his veins, and a thousand 
wild wislics bewildcicd his imagination. 

"Hold!" cried he, iu a ImiTicd, faltering voice; "I can 
resist no longer ! Staythen, encliantress ! stay formy destruc- 
tion," lie said ; and, rusliiug from tlic place, hastened towards 
tlie monastery. He regained iiis cell, and tln;ew himself npon 
his conch, distracted, irresolute, and confused. 

He found it impossible for some time to arrange his ideas. 
The scene in which he had been engaged had excited such a 
varietj' of sentiments in his bosom, tliat he was incapable of 
deciding which was predominant. Ho was irresolute what 
conduct he ought to hold with the disturber of Iiis repose ; 
he was conscious that prudence, religion, and propriety 
necessitated his obliging her to quit the abbey ; but, on the 
other hand, such powerful reasons authorized her stay that 
lie was but too much inclined to consent to 'her remaining. 
He could not avoid being flattered liy Matilda's declaration, 
and at reflecting that he had unconsciously vanquisiied an 
heart which had resisted the attacks of Sjiain's noblest cava- 
liers. The manner in whicii he liad gained her affections wns 
also the most satisfactory to his vanity ; he remembered the 
many happy iiours which he had passed in Eosario's soeiely, 
and dreaded that void in his heart wliich parting willi him 
would occasion. Besides all tjiis, he considered that as Ma- 
tilda was wealthy, her favor might be of essential benefit to 
the abljey. 

"And what do I risk," said he to himself, "by author- 
izing her stay? May I not safely' credit her assertions? 
Will it not be easy for me to forget her sex, and still con- 
sider her as my friend and my disciple? Surely her love is 
as pure as she describes ; jiad it been the offspring of mere 
lieentiousness, would she so Jong have concealed it in her 
own bosom? Wonld she not have employed some means to 
procure its gratification? She Jias done quite the contrary; 
she strove to keep me in ignorance of Jier sex, and nothing 



THE FEMALE MONK 65 

but the fear of detection, at my instance, ■would have com- 
pelled her to reveal the secret. Slie has observed the duties 
of religion not less strictly than myself ; she has made no 
attempt to rouse my slumbering passions, nor has she ever 
Donversed "with me till this niglit on tlic subject of love. 
Had she been desirous to gain my affections, not my esteem, 
she would not have concealed from me her charms so care- 
fully. At this very moment, I have never seen her face ; 
yet certainly that face must be lovely, and her person beauti- 
ful, to judge by her — by what I have seen." 

As this last idea passed through his imagination, a blush 
spread itself over his cheek. Alarmed at the sentiments 
'which he was indulging, he betook himself to prayer ; he 
started from his couch, knelt before the beautiful Madonna, 
and entreated her assistance in stifling such culpable emo- 
tions ; he then returned to his bed, and resigned himself to 
slumber. 

He awoke heated and unrefreshed. During his sleep his 
inflamed imagination had presented him with none but the 
most entrancing objects. Matilda stood before him in his 
dreams, and his eyes again dwelt upon her beautiful neck ; 
she repeated her protestations of eternal love, threw her 
arms round him, and loaded him with kisses ; he returned 
them ; he clasped her passionately to his bosom, and — the 
vision was diss.olved. Sometimes his dreams presented the 
image of his favorite Madonna, and he fancied that he was 
kneeling before her ; as he offered up his vows to her, the 
eyes of the figure seemed to beam on him with inexpressible 
sweetness ; he pressed his lips to hers, and found them warm : 
the animated form started from the canvas, embraced him 
affectionately, and his senses were unable to support de- 
light so exquisite. 

He started from his couch, filled with confusion at the re- 
membrance of his dreams ; scarcely was he less ashamed 
when he reflected on his reasons of the former night which 

KOSAKIO 5 



66 BOSAKIO ; OR, 

induced him to authorize Matilda's stay. The cloud was 
now dissipated which had obscured his judgment ; he shud- 
dered when he behel i his arguments blazoned in their proper 
colors, and found that he had been a slave to flattery, to 
avarice, and self-love. If, in one hour's conversation, Ma- 
tilda had produced a change so remarkable in his sentiments, 
what had he not to dread from her remaining in the abbey? 
Becoming sensible of his danger, awakened from his dream 
of confldence, he resolved to insist on her departing without 
delay ; he began to feel that he was not proof against temp- 
tation ; and that, however Matilda might restrain herself 
within the bounds of modesty, he was unable to contend 
with those passions from which he falsely thought himself 
exempted. 

"Agnes! Agnes!" he exclaimed, while reflecting on his 
embarrassments, " I already feel thy curse 1 " 

He quitted his cell, determined upon dismissing the feigned 
Rosario. He appeared at matins ; but his thoughts were 
absent, and he paid tliem but little attention ; his heart and 
brain were both of them filled with worldly objects, and he 
prayed without devotion. The service over, he descended 
into the garden ; he bent his steps towards the same spot 
where, on tlie preceding night, he had made this embarrass- 
ing discovery ; he doubted not that Matilda would seek him 
there. He was not deceived ; she soon entered the- hermit- 
age, and approached the monlj: with a timid air. After a few 
minutes, during which both were silent, she appeared as if 
on the point of speaking ; but the abbot, who during this 
time had been summoning up all his resolution, hastily inter- 
rupted her. Though still unconscious how extensive was 
its influence, he dreaded the melodious sednotion of her 
voice. 

" Seat yourself by my side, Matilda," said he, assuming 
a look of firmness, though carefully avoiding the least mixt- 
ure of severity; "listen to me patiently, and believe that, 



THE FEMALE MONK 67 

in what I shall say, I ain not iiioi-e influenced by mj own 
interest than by yours ; believe tliat I feel for you the warm- 
est friendship, tlie truest compassion ; and that you cannot 
feel more grieved than I do when I declare to you that we 
must never meet again." 

"Ambrosio!" she cried, in a voice at once expressive 
both of surprise and of sorrow. 

"Be calm, my friend! ]My Eosario ! Still let me Call 
you by that name so dear to me ; our separation is unavoid- 
able ; I blush to own how sensibly it affects me. But yet it 
must be so ; I feel myself incapable of treating you with in- 
difference ; and tliat very conviction obliges me to insist 
upon your departure. Matilda, you must stay here no 
longer." 

" Oh ! where shall I now seek for probity ? Disgusted with 
a perfidious world, in what happy region does Truth conceal 
herself ? Father, I hoped that she resided here ; I thought 
that your bosom had been her favorite shrine. And you 
too prove false? O God ! and you too can betray me? " 

"Matilda?" 

"Yes, father, yes ; 'tis with justice that I reproach you. 
Oh ! where are your promises? My novitiate is nf)t expired, 
and yet will you compel me to quit the monastery? Can 
you have the heart to drive me from you ? And have I not 
received your solemn oath to the contrarj'." 

" I will not compel j'ou to quit the monastery ; j'ou liave 
received my solenm oath to the contrary ; but yet, when I 
throw myself upon jour generosity, when I declare to you 
the embarrassments in which your presence involves me, 
will you not release me from that oath? Reflect upon the 
danger of a discovery ; upon the opprobinm in which such 
an event would plunge me ; reflect that my lionor and reputa- 
tion are at stake, and tliat my peace of mind depends on 
your compliance. As yet, my heart is free ; I shall separate 
frorfl you with regret, but not with despair. Stay here, and 



68 KOSARIO ; OR, 

a few weeks will sacrifice my happiness on the altar of your 
charms ; you are but too interesting, too amiable ! ■ I should 
love you, I should cloat on you ! INIy bosom would become 
tlic prey of desires which honor and my profession forbid 
me to gratify. If I resisted them, the impetuositj' of my 
wishes unsatisfied would drive me to madness ; if I yielded 
to the temptation, I should sacrifice to one moment of guilty 
pleasure my reputation in this world, my salvation in the 
next. To you, then, I fly for defense against myself. Pre- 
serve me from losing the reward of thirty years of suffer- 
ings ! Preserve me from becoming the victim of remorse ! 
Yonr heart has already felt the anguish of hopeless love ; 
oh ! then, if you really value me, spare mine that anguish ! 
Give me back my promise ; fly from these walls. Go, and 
you bear with j'ou my warmest prayers for your happiness, 
my friendship, my esteem and admiration ; stay, and you 
become to me the source of danger, of sufferings, of despair. 
Answer me, Matilda, what is your resolve?" 

She was silent. 

" Will you not speak, Matilda ! Will you not name your 
choice ? " 

"Cruel! cruel!" slie exclaimed, wrhiging her hands in 
agony; "you know too well tluit j'ou offer me no choice ; 
you Icnow too well that I can have no will but yours ! " 

" I was not then deceived. Matilda's generosity equals 
my expectatious." 

"Yes; I will prove the truth of my affection by sub- 
mitting to a decree which cuts me to the very heart. Take 
back your promise. I will quit the monastery this very day. 
I liave a relation, abbess of a convent in Estramadura ; to 
her will I bend my stops, and shut myself from tlie world 
for ever. Yet tell me, father, shall I bear your good wishea 
with me to my solitude? Will you sometimes abstract your 
attention from heavenly objects to bestow a thought upou 
me?" 



THB rUMALR MONK 69 

"Ah! Matild:i,J fear tlmt I shall tliink on you but too 
often for my repose ! " 

" Then I have nothing more to wish for, save that we may 
meet in lioaven. Farewell, my friend ! my Ambrosio ! And 
yet, methiidvs, I would fain bear with me some token of 
your regard." 

"What shall I give you?" 

" Something — anytliing — one of those Mowers wilH)e suffi- 
cient." (Here he pointed to a bush of roses, planted at the 
door of the grotto.) "I will hide it in my bosom, and, 
when I am dead, the nuns shall find it witherecl upon my 
heart." 

The friar was unable to reply ; with slow steps, and a soul 
heavy with affliction, he quitted the hermitage. He ap- 
proached the bush, and stooped to pluck one of the roses. 
Suddenly he uttered a piercing cry, started back hastily, and 
let the flower, which he already held, fall from his hand. 
Matilda heard the shriek, and flew anxiously towards him. 

"What is the matter?" she cried. "Answer me, for 
God's sake ! What has happened ? " 

" I have received my death," he replied in a faint voice ; 
" concealed among the roses — a serpent — " 

Here the pain of his wound became so exquisite, that 
nature was unable to bear it ; his senses abandoned him, and 
he sunk inanimate into Matilda's arms. 

Her distress was beyond the power of description. She 
rent her hair, beat her bosom, and, not daring to quit Am- 
brosio, endeavored by loud cries to summon the monks to 
her assistance. She at length succeeded. Alarmed by her 
shrieks, several of the brothers hastened to the spot, and 
the superior w^as conveyed back to the abbey. He was im- 
mediately put to bed, and the monk, who officiated as sur- 
geon to the fraternity, prepared to exannne the wound. By 
this time Ambrosio's hand had swelled to an extraordinary 
gize ; the remedies which had been admiuistered to him, 'tis 



70 KOSAKIO ; OR, 

true, restored him to life, but not to his senses ; he raved in 
all the horrors of delirium, foamed at the mouth, and four 
of the strongest monks were scarcely able to hold him in his 
bed. 

Father Pablos (such was the surgeon's name) hastened to 
examine the wounded hand. The monks surrounded the 
bed, anxiously waiting for the decision ; among those the 
feigned Eosario appeared not the most insensible to the 
friar's calamity ; he gazed upon the sufferer with inex- 
pressible anguish; and his groans, which every moment 
escaped from his bosom, sufficiently betrayed the violence 
of his affliction. 

Father Pablos probed the wound. As he drew out his 
lancet, its point was tinged with a greenish hue. He shook 
his head mournfully, and quitted the bedside. 

" 'Tis as I feared," said he ; " there is no hope." 

" No hope ! " exclaimed the monlis with one voice ; " say 
you, no hope ? " 

" From the sudden effects, I suspected that the abbot was 
stung by a cientipedoro ; * the venom which you see upon 
my lancet confirms my idea. He cannot live three days." 

"And can no possible remedy be found?" inquired Eo- 
sario. 

" Without extracting the poison, he cannot recover ; and 
how to extract it is to me still a secret. All tliat I can do 
is to apply such herbs to the wound as will relieve the 
anguish ; the patient will be restored to his senses, but the 
venom will corrupt the whole mass of his blood, and in three 
days hewill exist no longer." 

Excessive was the universal grief at hearing this decision. 
Pablos, as he had promised, dressed the wound, and then 
retired, followed by his companions. Eosario alone^ re- 
mained in the cell, the abbot, at his urgent entreaty, having 



*The teieiitipcdoio is supposed to bo a nativo of Cuba, and to have been brought 
into Spain tioia that island la the vessel of Columbus, 



THE FEMALE MONK 71 

been committed to his care. Ambrosio's strength worn out 
by the violence of liis exertions, he had by this time fallen 
into a profound sleep. So totally was he overcouie by 
weariness, that he scarcely gave any signs of life. He was 
still in this situation, when the monks returned to inquire 
whether any change had taken place. Pablos loosened the 
bandage which concealed the wound, more from a principle 
of curiosity than from indulging the hope of discovering any 
favorable symptoms. What was his astonishment at find- 
ing that the inflammation had totally subsided ! He probed 
the hand ; his lancet came out pure and unsullied ; no traces 
of the venom were perceptible ; and, had not the orifice still 
been visible, Pablos might have doubted that there had ever 
been a wound. 

He communicated this intelligence to his brethren ; their 
delight was only equalled by their siu'prise. From the hitter 
sentiment, however, they were soon released, by explaining 
the circumstance according to their own ideas. They were 
perfectly convinced that their superior was a saint, and 
thought that nothing could be more natural than for St. 
Francis to have operated a miracle in his favor. This 
opinion was adopted unanimously. They declared it so 
loudly, and vociferated " A miracle ! a miracle ! " with such 
fervor, that they soon interrupted Ambrosio's slumbers. 

The monks immediately crowded round his bed, and ex- 
pressed their satisfaction at his wonderful recovery. He 
was perfectly in his senses, and free from every complaint, 
except feeling weak and languid. Pablos gave him a 
strengthening medicine, and advised his keeping his bed for 
two succeeding days ; he then retired, having desired his 
l^atient not to exhaust himself by conversation, but rather to 
endeavor at taking some repose. The other monks followed 
his example, and the abbot and Eosario were left without 
observers. 

For some minutes, Ambrosio regarded his attendant with 



72 KOSABio ; OR, 

a look of mingled pleasure and apprehension. She was 
seated upon the side of the bed, her head bending down, 
and, as usual, enveloped in the cowl of her habit. 

"And you are still here, Matilda?" said the friar at 
length ; " are you not satisfied with having so nearly effected 
my destruction, that nothing but a miracle could liave saved 
me from the grave ? Ah ! surely heaven sent that serpent to 
punish — " 

Matilda inten-upted him by putting her hand before his 
lips with an air of gaiety. 

" Hush ! father, hush ! you must not talk." 

" He who imposed that order, knew not how interesting 
are the subjects on which 1 wish to speak." 

" But I know it, and yet issue the same positive command. 
I am appointed your nurse, and you must not disobey my 
orders. " 

" You are in spirits, Matilda ! " 

" Well may I be so ; I have just received a pleasure un- 
exampled through my whole life." 

" What was that pleasure?" 

♦' What I must conceal from all, but most from you." 

"But most from me? Nay then, I entreat you, Ma- 
tilda—" 

" Hush ! father, hush ! you must not talk. But as you do 
not seem inclined to sleep, shall I endeavor to amuse you 
with my harp ? " 

" How? I knew not that you understood music." 

" How? I knew not that you understood music." 

"Oh! I am a sorry performer! Yet as silence is pre- 
scribed you for ^ght-and-forty hours, I may possibly enter- 
tain you, when wearied of your own reflections. I go to 
fetch my harp." 

She soon returned with it. 

"Now, father, what shall I sing?" 

"What you please, Matilda." 

"Oh! call me not Matilda! Call me Rosario, call me 



THTO FEMALE MONK 73 

your friend. These lire the names which I love to hear from 
your lips. Now listen." 

She then tuned her harp, and afterwards prehided for 
some moments with such exquisite taste, as to prove her a 
perfect mistress of the instrument. The air wliich she 
played was soft and plaintive. Anibrosio, while he listened, 
felt his uneasiness subside, and a pleasing melancholy spread 
itself into his bosom. Suddenly Matilda changed the strain ; 
with an hand bold and rapid, she struck a few loud martial 
chords, and then chanted a stirring ballad to an air at once 
simple and melodious. 

While she sung, Ambrosio listened with delight, never had 
he heard a voice more harmonious ; and he wondered how such 
heavenly sounds could be produced by any but angels. But 
though he indulged the sense of hearing, a single look con- 
vinced him that he must not trust to that of sight. The song- 
stress sat at a little distance fi'om his bed. The attitude in 
which she bent over her harp was easy and graceful ; her cowl 
had fallen backwarder than usual ; two coral lips wei'e visible, 
ripe, fresh, and melting, and a chin, in whose dimples scorned 
to lurk a thousand cupids. Her habit's long sleeve would have 
swept along the chords of the Instrument ; to prevent tliis in- 
convenience, she had drawn it over her elbow, and by this 
means an arm was discovered, formed in the most perfect 
sjrmmetry, the delicacy of whose slcin might have contended 
with snow in whiteness. Ambrosio dared to look on her but 
once ; that glance sufficed to convince him how dangerous was 
the presence of this seducing object. He closed his eyes, but 
strove in vain to banish her from his tlioughts. There slie still 
moved before him, adorned with all those charms which his 
heated imagination could supply. Every beauty which he had 
seen appeared embellished, and those still concealed faucy 
represented to him in glowing colors. Still, liowevcr, his 
VQWS, and the necessity of keeping to them, were present to 



74 BOSAEIO ; OR, 

his memory. He struggled with desire, and shuddered when 
he beheld how deep was the precipice before him. 

Matilda ceased to sing. Dreading the influence of her 
charms, Ambrosio remained with his eyes closed, and offered 
up his prayers to St. Francis to assist him in this dangerous 
trial ! Matilda believed that he yr, ileeping, she rose from 
her seat, approached the bed softly, and for some minutes 
gazed upon him attentively. 

" He sleeps ! " said she at length in a low voice, but whose 
accents the abbot distinguished perfectly ; " now then I may 
gaze upon him without offence ; I may mix n.r breath with 
his ; I may doat upon his features, and he can; ot suspect me 
of impurity and deceit. He fears my seducag him to the 
violation of his vows. Oh ! the unjust ! were it my wish to 
excite desire, should I conceal my features from Iiim so care- 
fully? those features, of which I daily hear him — " 

She stopped, and was lost in her reflections. 

" It was but yesterday," she continued ; " but a few short 
hours have passed since I was dear to him ; he esteemed me, and 
my heart was satisfied ; now, oh ! now, how cruelly is my situa- 
tion changed ! He looks on me with suspicion ; he bids me 
leave him, leave him for ever. Oh ! you, my saint, my idol ! 
You ! holding the next place to God in my breast, yet two days, 
and my heart will be unveiled to you. Could you know my 
feelings when I beheld your agony ! Could you know how 
much your sufferings have endeared you to me ! But the time 
wil come when you will be convinced that my passion is pure 
and disinterested. Tlicn you will pity me, and feel the whole 
weight of these sorrows." 

"As she said this, her voice was choired by weeping. While 
she bent over Ambrosio, a tear fell upon his cheek. 

" Ah ! I have disturbed him," cried Matilda, and retreated 
hastily. 

Her alarm was ungrounded. None sleep so profoundly as 
those who are determined not to wake. The friar was iu this 



THE FEMAI,E MONK 75 

predicament ; he still seemed buried in a repose, ■which every 
succeeding minute rendered him less capable of enjoying. 
The burning tear had communicated its warmth to his heart. 

"What affection ! what purity ! " said he internally. "Ah ! 
since my bosom is thus sensible of pity, -what would it be if 
agitated by love?" 

Matilda again quitted her seat, and retired to some distance 
from the bed. Ambrosio ventured to open his eyes, and to 
cast them upon her fearfully. Her face was turned from him. 
She rested her head in a melancholy posture upon her harp, 
and gazed upon the picture wliich hung opposite to the bed. 

" Happy, happy image !" tlms did she address the beauti- 
ful Madonna ; " 'tis to you that he offers his prayers ; 'tis on 
you that he gazes with admiration. I , thouglit you would 
have lightened my sorrows ; you have only served to increase 
their weiglit ; you have made me feel that, had I known him 
ere his vows were pronounced, Ambrosio and happiness might 
have been mine. With what pleasure he views this picture ! 
with what fervor be addresses his prayers to tlie insensible 
image ! Ah ! may not his sentiments be inspired by some 
kind and secret genius, friend to my affection? May it not 
be man's natural instinct wliich informs him? Be silent ! idle 
hopes ! let me not encourage an idea, which takes from the 
brilliance of Ambrosio's virtue. 'Tis religion, not beauty, 
which attracts his admiration ; 'tis not to the woman, but the 
divinity that he kneels. Would he but address to me the 
least tender expression wliich he pours forth to this Madonna ! 
Would he but say, that were he not already affianced to the 
church, he would not have despised Matilda! Oh! let me 
nourish that fond idea. Perhaps he may yet acknowledge 
that he feels for me more than pity, and that affection like 
mine might well have deserved a return. Perhaps he may 
own thus much when I lie on my deathbed. He then need 
not fear to infringe his vows, and the confession of his regard 
will soften the ,pangs of dying. Would I were sure of this ,' 



76 EOSAKIO ; OR, 

Oh ! how earnestly should 1 sigh for the moment of dissolu- 
tion?" 

Of this discourse the abbot lost not a syllable ; and the 
tone in which she pronounced these last words pierced to his 
heart. Involuntarily he raised himself from his pillow. 

" Matilda ! " he said in a troubled voice ; oh ! my Matilda ! " 

She started at the sound, and turned toward him hastilj^. 
The suddenness of her movement made her cowl full back 
from her head ; her features became visible to the monk's in- 
quiring eye. What washis amazement at beholdinigjheexact 
resemblanc^_of_his admi red Madonna ? The same exquisite 
proportion of features, the same profusion of golden hair, the 
same rosy lips, heavenly eyes, and majesty of countenance 
adorned Matilda ! Uttering an exclamation of surijrise, 
Ambrosio sunk back upon his pillow, and doubted whether the 
object before him was mortal or divine. 

Matilda seemed penetrated with confusion. She remained 
motionless in her place, and supported herself upon her instru- 
ment, her eyes were bent upon the earth, and her fair cheeks 
overspread with blushes. On recovering herself, her first 
action was to conceal her features. She then, in an unsteady 
and troubled voice, ventured to address those words to the 
friar, — 

" Accident has Inade you master of a secret which I never 
would have revealed but on the bed of death : yes, Ambrosio, 
in Matilda de Villcnegas you see the original of your beloved 
Madonna. Soon after I conceived my unfortunate passion, 
I formed the project of convoying to you my picture. Crowds 
of admirers had persuaded me that I possessed some beauty, 
and I was anxious to know what effect it would produce upon 
you. I caused my portrait to be drawn by Martin Galuppi, 
a celebrated Venetian, at that time resident in Madrid. The 
resemblance was striking : I sent it to the Capuchin abbey as 
if for sale ; and the Jew from whom you bought it was one 
of my emissaries. You purchased it. Judge of my rapture 



THE FEMALE MONK 77 

when informed tbut you had gazed upon it with delight, or 
rather with adoration ; that you had suspended it in your cell, 
and that you addressed your supplications to no other saint ! 
Will this discovery make me still more regarded as an object 
of suspicion? Eather should it convince you how pure is my 
affection, and engage you to suffer me in your society and 
esteem. I heard you daily extol the praises of my portrait. 
I was an eye-witness of the transports which its beauty excited 
in you ; yet I forbore to use against your virtue those arms 
with which yourself had furnished me. I concealed those 
features from your sight which you loved unconsciously. I 
strove not to excite desire by displaying my charms, or to 
make myself mistress of your heart through the medium of 
your senses. To attract your notice by studiously attending 
to religious duties, to endear myself to you by convincing you 
that my mind was virtuous and my attachment sincere, such 
was my only aim. I succeeded : I became your companion 
and your friend. , I concealed my sex from your knowledge ; 
and had you not pressed me to reveal my secret, had I not 
been tormented by the fear ,of a discovery, never had you 
known me from any other than Rosario. And still are you 
resolved to drive me from you ? The few hours of life which 
yet remain for me, may I not pass them in your presence? 
Oh! speak, Ambrosio, and tell me that I may stay." 

This speech gave the abbot an opportunity of recollecting 
himself. He was conscious that, in the present disposition 
of his mind, avoiding her society was his only refuge from 
the power of this enchanting woman. 

"Your declaration has so much astonished me," said he, 
that I am at present incapable of answering you. Do not 
insist upon a reply, Matilda ; leave me to mj'self ; I have need 
to be alone." 

" I obey you ; but, before I go, promise not to insist upon 
my quitting the abbey immediately." 

" Matilda, reflect upon your situation ; reflect upon the con- 



\t8 EOSAKIO ; OR, 

sequences of your stay ; our separation Is indispensable, and 
we must part." 

" But not to-day, fatlier ! Oh, in pity, not to-day ! " 

" You press me too Jiard ; but I cannot . resist that tone of 
supplication. Since j'ou insist upon it, I yield to your prayer ; 
I consent to your remaining Iiere a suflScient time to prepare, 
in some measure, the brethren for your departure : stay yet 
two days; but on the third" — (lie sighed involuntary) — 
" remember, that on the tliird we must part for ever!" 

She caught liis linnd eagerly, and pressed it to her lips. 

" On tlie third ! " she exclaimed, with an air of wild solem- 
nity. " You are right, father, you are right ! On the third 
we must part for ever ! " 

There was a dreadful expression in her eye as she uttered 
tliese words, which penetrated the friar's soul with horror. 
Again she liissed liis hand, and then fled with rapidity from 
the chamber. 

Anxious to authorize the presence of his dangerous guest, 
j'et conscious that her stay was in fringing the laws of his order, 
Ambrosio's bosom became the tlieatre of a thousand contend- 
ing passions. At length his attachment to the feigned 
Rosario, aided by the natui-al warmth of his temperament, 
seemed lilfely to obtain tiie victory : tlie success was assured, 
when that presumption whicli formed tlie ground-worli of his 
character came to Matilda's assistance. The monk reflected, 
that to vanquish temptation was an infinitely greater merit 
than to avoid it ; he thought tliat he ought rather to rejoice in 
the opportunity given liim of proving the firmness of his virtue. 
St. Anthony liad withstood all seduction to lust, then wliy 
should not he? Besides, St. Antliony was tempted by the 
devil, who put every art into practice to excite his passions ; 
whereas, Ambrosio's danger proceeded from a mere mortal 
woman, fearful and modest, whose apprehensions of his yield- 
ing were not less violent than his own. 

" Yes," said he, " the unfortunate shall stay ; T have nothing 



THE FEMALE MONK 79 

to fear from her presence : even should my own prove too 
weak to resist the temptation, I am secured from danger by 
the innocence of Matilda." 

Ambrosio was yet to learn that to a heart unacquainted 
with her, vice is ever most dangerous when lurking behind the 
mask of virtue. He found himself so perfectly recovered, 
that, when Father Pablos visited him again at nigljt, he en- 
treated permission to quit his chamber on the day following. 
His request was granted. Matilda appeared no more that 
evening, except in (company with the monks when they came 
in a body to inquire after the abbot's health. She seemed 
fearful of converoug with him in private, and staying but a 
few minutes in his room. The friar slept well; but the 
dreams of the former night were repeated, and his sensations 
of voluptuousness were yet more keen and exquisite ; the same 
lust-exciting visions floated before his eyes ; Matilda, in all 
the pomp of beauty, warm, tender and luxurious, clasped him 
to her bosom, and lavished upon him the most ardent caresses. 
He returned them as eagerly ; and already was on the point of 
satisfying his desires, when the faithless form disappeared, 
and left him to all the horrors of shame and disappointment. 

The morning dawned. Fatigued, harassed, and exhausted 
by his provoking dreams, he was not disposed to quit his bed ; 
he excused himself from appearing at matins ; it was the first 
morning in his life that he had ever missed them. He rose 
late ; during the whole of the day he had no opportunity of 
speaking to Matilda without witnesses ; his cell was thronged 
by the monks, anxious to express their concern at his illness ; 
and he was still occupied in receiving their compliments on his 
recovery when the bell summoned them to the refectory. 

After dinner the monks separated, and dispersed themselves 
in various parts of the garden, where the shade of trees or re- 
tirement of some grotto presented the most agreeable means 
of enjoying the siesta. The abbot bent his steps towards 
the hermitage ; a glance of his eye invited Matilda to accom- 



80 EOSARIO ; OE, 

pany him ; she obeyed, and followed him thither in silenee. 
They entered the grotto and seated themselves ; both seemed 
unwilling to begin the conversation, and to labor under the 
influence of mutual embaiTassment. At length the abbot 
spoke ; he conversed only on indifferent topics, and Matilda 
answered lum in the same tone ; she seemed anxious to make 
him forget tliat the person who sat by him was any other than 
Eosario. Neither of them dared, or indeed wished, to make an 
allusion to the subject which was most at the hearts of both. 

Matilda's efforts to appear gay were evidently forced ; her 
spirits were oppressed by the weight of anxiety, and when 
she spoke her voice was low and feeble ; she seemed desirous 
of finishing a conversation which embarrassed her ; and, 
complaining that she was unwell, she requested Ambrosio's 
permission to return to the abbey. He accompanied her to 
the door of her cell ; and when arrived there, he stopped her 
to declare his consent to her continuing the partner of his 
solitude so long as should be agreeable to herself. 

She discovered no marks of pleasure at receiving this in- 
telligence, though on the preceding day she had been so 
anxious to obtain the permission. 

"Alas! father," she said, waving her head mournfully, 
" your kindness comes too late : my doom is fixed ; we must 
separate for ever ; yet believe that I am grateful for your 
generosity ; for your compassion of an unfortunate who is 
but too little deserving of it." 

She put her handkerchief to her eyes ; her cowl was only 
half drawn over her face. Ambrosio observed that she was 
pale, and her eyes sunk and heavy. 

"Good God!" he cried, "you are very ill, Matilda; I 
shall send Father Pablos to you instantly." 

" No, do not ; I am ill, 'tis true, but he cannot cure my 
malady. Farewell, father ! Remember me in your prayers, 
to-morrow, while I shall remember you in heaven." 

She entered her cell and closed the door. 



THE FEMALE MONIC 81 

The abbot despatched to lier tlie pliysiciiui without losing 
a moment, and waited his report impatiently ; but Father 
Pablos soon returned, and declared that his eri-and had been 
fruitless. Eosario refused to admit him, and had positively 
rejected his offers of assistance. The luieasiness which this 
account gave Ambrosio was not trifling ; yet he determined 
that Matilda should have her own way for that night ; but 
that, if her situation did not mend by the morning, he would 
insist upon her taking the advice of Father Pablos. 

He did not find himself inclined to sleep ; he opened his 
casement, and gazed upon the moonbeams as they played 
upon tlie small stream whose waters batiied the walls of the 
monastery. The coolness of the night breeze and tran' 
quility of tlie hour inspired the friar's mind with sadness ; 
he thought upon Matilda's beauty and affection ; upon the 
pleasures which he might have shared with her, had he not 
been restrained by monastic fetters. He reflected that, un- 
sustained by hope, her love for him could not long exist ; 
that doubtless she would succeed in extinguishing her passion , 
and seek for happiness in the arms of one more fortunate. 
He shuddered at the void her absence would leave in his 
bosom ; he looked with disgust on the monotony of a con- 
vent, and breathed a sigh towards that world from which he 
was for ever separated. Such were the reflections which a, 
loud knocking at his door interrupted. The bell of the 
church had already struck two. The abbot hastened to in- 
quire the cause of this disturbance. He opened the door of 
his cell, and a lay brother entered, whose looks declared his 
hurry and confusion. 

"Hasten, reverend father!" said he, "hasten to young 
Eosario : he earnestly requests to see you ; he lies at the 
point of death." 

" Gracious God ! where is Father Pablos? Why, is he not 
with him ? Oh ! I fear, I fear—" 
Eosario 6 



82 ROSARIO ; -OR, 

" Father Pablos has seeu him, but his art can do nothing. 
He says that he suspects the youth to be poisoned.'' 

"Poisoned? Oh! the unfortunate ! It is then as I sus- 
pected ! But let me not lose a moment ; perhaps it may yet 
be time to save her," he said, and flew towards the cell of 
the novice. 

Several monks were already at the chamber : Father Pablos 
was one of them, and held a medicine in his hand, which 
he was endeavoring to persuade Rosario to swallow. The 
others were employed in admiring the patient's divine counte- 
nance, which they now saw for the first time. She looked 
lovelier than ever ; she was no longer pale or lang-uid ; a 
bright glow had spread itself over her cheeks ; her eyes 
sparkled with serene delight, and her countenance was ex- 
pressive of confidence and resignation. 

" Oh ! torment me no more ! " was she saying to Pablos, 
when the terrified abbot rushed hastily into the cell ; "my 
disease is far beyond the reach of your skill, and I wish not 
to be cured of it." Then, perceiving Ambrosio, "Ah, 'tis 
he ! " she cried ; " I see him once again before we part for 
ever ! Leave me, my brethren ; much have I to tell this 
lioly man in private." . 

The monks retired immediately, and Matilda and the 
abbot remained together. 

"What Iiave you done, imprudent woman ? " exclaimed 
the latter, as soon as they were left alone; "tell me, are 
my suspicions just? Am I indeed to lose you ? Has your 
own hand been the instrument of your destruction ? " 

She smiled, and grasped his hand. 

" In what have I been imprudent, father ? I have sacrificed 
•i pebble, and saved a diamond. My death preserves a life 
valuable to the world, and more dear to me than my own. 
Yes, father, I am' poisoned ; but know that the poison once 
circulated in your veins." 

"MatUda!" 



THE FEMALE MONK 83 

"What I tell j'ou I resolvetl never to discover to yon but 
on the bed of death; that moment is now arrived. Yon 
cannot have forgotten the day ah-eady, when your life w;i.s 
endangered by the bite of a cientipedoro. The physician 
gave you over, declaring himself ignorant how to extract 
the venom. I knew but of one means, and hesitated not a 
moment to employ it. I was left alone with you ; you slept ; 
I loosened the bandagi' from your hand ; I kissed the wound, 
and drew out the poison with my lips. The effect has been 
more sudden than I exi)eeted. I feel death at my heart ; 
yet an hour, and 1 shall be in a better woi'ld." 

"Almighty God ! " exclaimed the abbot, and sunk almost 
lifeless upon the bed. 

After a few minutes he again raised himself up suddenly, 
and gazed upon Matilda with all the wildness of despair. 

" And you have sacrificed yourself for me ! You die, and 
die to preserve Ambrosio ! And is there indeed no remedy, 
Matilda ? And is there indeed no hope ? Speak to me ; oh ! 
speak to me ! Tell ine that you have still the means of 
life ! " 

" Be comforted, my only friend ! Y'es, I have still the 
means of life in my power ; but it is a means which I dare 
not employ ! it is dangerous ; it is dreadful ! Life would be 
purchased at too dear a rate — unless it were permitted me 
to live for you." 

"Then live for me, Matilda; for me and gratitude!" — 
(He caught her hand, and pressed it rapturously to his lips.). 
— " Remember our late conversations ; I now consent to 
everything. Remember in what lively colors you described 
the union of souls ; be it ours to realize those ideas. Let 
us forget the distinctions of sex, despise the world's prej- 
udices, and only consider each other as brother and friend, 
Live then, Matilda, oh ! live for me ! " 

"Ambrosio, it must not be. WJien I thought thus, 1 
deceived both you and myself : either I must die at present, 



84 EosARio ; OR, 

or expire by the lingering torments of unsatisfied desire. 
Oh ! since we last conversed together, a dreadful veil has 
been rent from before my eyes. I love you no longer with 
tlie devotion which is paid to a saint ; I prize you no more 
for the virtues of your soul. The woman reigns in my 
bosom, and I am become a prey to the wildest of passions. 
Away with friendsliip ! 'tis a col;! unfeeling word ; my heart 
burns with love, with unutterable love, and love must be its 
return. Tremble, then, Ambrosio, tremble to succeed in 
your prayers. If I live, your truth, your reputation, your 
reward of a life past in sufferings, all that you value, is 
irretrievably lost. No, no, Ambrosio, I must not live ; I 
am convinced with every moment that 1 have but one alterna- 
tive ; I feel with every heart-throb that I must be yours or 
die." 

"Amazement! Matilda! Can it be you wlio speak to 
me?" 

He made a movement as if to quit his seat. She uttered 
a loud shriek, and, half raising herself, threw her arms round 
the friar to detain him. 

"Oh! do not leave me! Listen to my errors with com- 
passion. In a few hours I shall be no more ; yet a little, 
and I am free from this disgraceful passion." 

"Wretched woman, what can I say to you? I cannot — 
I must not — But live, Matilda ! oh, live ! " 

"You do not reflect on wliat you ask. "What! live to 
plunge myself in infamy? to become the agent of hell? to 
, work the destruction both of you and of myself ! Feel this 
heart, father." 

She took his hand. Confused, embarrassed, and fascin- 
ated, he withdrew it not, and how her heart was throbbing. 

"Feel this heart, father I It is yet the seat of honor, 
truth, and chastity ; if it beats to-morrow, it must fall a 
prey to the blackest crimes. Oh ! let me then die to-day ! 
Let me die while I yet deserve the tears of the virtuous 



THE FEMALE MONK 85 

Thus will I expire!" — (She reclined her head upon his 
shoulder, her golden hair poured itself over his chest.) — 
" Folded in your arms, I sliall sink to sleep ; your hand 
shall close my eyes for ever, and your lips receive my dying 
breath. And ■will you not sometimes think of me? Will 
you not sometimes shed a tear upon my tomb ? Oh yes, 
yes, yes ! that kiss is my assurance." 

The hour was night. All was silence around. The faint 
beams of a solitary lamp darted upon Matilda's figure, and 
shed through the chamber a dim mysterious light. No 
prying eye or curious ear was near the lovers ; nothing was 
heard but Matilda's melodious accents. Ambrosio saw be- 
fore him a young and beautiful woman, the preserver of his 
life, the adorer of his person, and whom affection for him 
had reduced to the brink of the grave. He sat by her; her 
head reclined upon his breast. WIjo then can wonder if he 
yielded to the temptation? Drunk with desire, he pressed 
his lips to those which sought them ; his kisses vied with 
Matilda's in warmth and passion ; he clasped her rapturously 
in his arms ; he forgot his vows, his sanctity and his fame ; 
he remembered nothing. 

" Ambrosio ! Oh, my Ambrosio ! " sighed Matilda, 

" Thine, ever thine," murmured the friar. 





The Marquis and Lorenzo proceeded to the hotel in 
silence. The former employed himself in calling every cir- 
cumstance to his mind which related might give Lorenzo's 
the most favorable idea of his connection with Agnes. The 
latter, justly alarmed for the lienor of his family, felt em- 
barrassed by the presence of the Marquis ; the adventure 
which he had just witnessed forbade his treating him as a 
friend ; and Antonio's interests being entrusted to his medi- 
ation, he saw the impolicy of treating him as a foe. He 
concluded, from these reflections, that profound silence 
would be the wisest plan, and waited with impatience for 
Don Raymond's explanation. 

They arrived at the Hotel de las Cisternas. The Marquis 
immediately conducted him to his apartment, and began to 
express his satisfaction at finding him at Madrid. Lorenzo 
interrupted him. 

"Excuse me, my lord," said he with a distant air, "if I 
reply somewhat coldly to your expressions of regard. A 
sister's honor is involved in this affair ; till that is estab- 
lished, and the purport of your correspondence with Agnes 
cleared up, I cannot consider you as my friend. I am 
anxious to hear the meaning of your conduct ; and hope 
that you will not delay the promised explanation." 



THE FEMALE MONK 87 

"First give me yom- word, tliat, yon will listen with 
patieuce and indulgence." 

"I love my sister too well to judge lier harshly ; and, till 
this moment, I possessed no friend so dear to me as your- 
self. I will also confess, that your having it in your power 
to oblige me in a business which I have nuich at heart 
makes me very anxious to find you still deserving my 
esteem." 

" Lorenzo, you transport me ! No greater pleasure can 
be given me than an opportunity of serving the brothfer of 
Agnes." 

" Convince me that I can accept your favors without dis- 
honor, and there is no man in the world to whom I am more 
willing to be obliged." 

"Probably you have already heard your sister mention 
the name of Alphonso d'Alvarada ? " 

" Never. Though I feel for Agnes an affection truly 
fraternal, circumstances have prevented us from being much 
together. While yet a child, she was consigned to the care 
of her aunt, who had married a German nobleman. At his 
castle she remained till two j-eai's since, when she returned 
to Spain, determined upon secluding herself from the 
world." 

" Good God ! Lorenzo, you knew of her intention, and 
yet strove not to make her change it? " 

"Marquis, you wrong me: the intelligence which I re- 
ceived at Naples shocked me extremely, and I hastened my 
return to Madrid for the express purpose of preventing the 
sacrifice. The moment that I arrived, I flew to the convent 
of St. Clare, in whJoh Agnes had cliosen to perform her 
novitiate. I requested to see my sister. Conceive my sur- 
prise when she sent me a refusal ; she declared positively 
that, apprehending my influence over her mind, she would 
not trust herself in my society, till the day befoi'e that on 
which she was to receive the veil. I supplicated the nuns; 



88 EOSARIO ; OR, 

I insisted upon seeing Agnes, and Jiesitated not to avow my 
suspicions, that her being kept from ine was against her 
own inclinations. To free herself from the imputation of 
violence, the prioress brought me a few lines, written in my 
sister's well-known hand, repeating the message already de- 
livered. All future attempts to obtain a moment's conversa- 
tion ■v^ith her were as fruitless as the first. She was in- 
flexible, and I was not permitted to see her till the day pre- 
ceding that on which she entered the cloister, never to quit 
it more. This interview took place in the presence of our 
principal relations. It was for the first time since her child- 
hood that I saw her, and the scene was most affecting ; she 
threw herself upon my bosom, kissed me, and wept bitterly. 
By every possible argument, by tears, by prayers, by kneel- 
ing, I strove to make her abandon her intention. I repre- 
sented ta her all the hardships of a religious life ; I painted 
to her imagination all the pleasures whicli slie was going to 
quit ; and besought her to disclose to me what occasioned 
her disgust to the world. At this last question she turned 
pale, and her tears flowed yet faster. She entreated me not 
to press her on that subject ; that it sufficed me to know 
that her resolution was taken, and that a convent was the 
only place where she could now hope for tranquillity. She 
persevered in her design, and made her profession. I visited 
her frequently at the gate ; and every moment that I passed 
with her made me feel more affliction at her loss. I was 
shortly after obliged to quit Madrid ; I returned but yester- 
day evening, and, since then, have not had time to call at 
St. Chire's convent." 

" Then, till I mentioned it, you never heard the name of 
Alphonso d'Alvarada ? " 

" Pardon me ! my aunt wrote me word that an adventurer 
so called had found means to get introduced into the Castle 
of Lindenberg ; that he had insinuated himself into my 
sister's good graces ; and that she had even consented to 



THE FEMALE MONK 89 

elope with him. However, before the plan could he executed, 
the cavalier discovered that the estates which he believed 
Agues to possess in Hispaniola in reality belonged to nie. 
This intelligence made him change his intention ; he disap- 
peared on the day that the elopement was to have taken 
place ; and Agnes, in despair at his perfidy and meanness, 
had resolved upon seclusion in a convent. She added that, 
as this adventurer had given himself out to be a friend of 
mine, she wished to know whether I had any knowledge of 
him. I replied in the negative. I had then very little idea 
that Alphonso d'Alvarada and the Mai'quis de las Cisternas 
were one and the same person ; the description given me of 
the first by no means tallied with what I knew of the latter." 

"In this I easily recognize Donna Rodolpha's perfidious 
character. Every word of this account is stamped with 
marks of her malice, of her falsehood, of Iier talents for mis- 
representing those who she wishes to injure. Forgive me, 
Medina, for speaking so freely of your relation. The mis- 
chief whicli she has done me authorizes my resentment ; and 
when you have heard my story, you will be convinced that 
my expressions have not been too severe." 

He then began his narrative in the following manner : — 

HISTORY OF DON RAYMOND, 

MAEQUIS DE LAS CISTEKNAS. 

Long experience, my dear Lorenzo, has convinced me how 
generous is your nature. I waited not for your declaration 
of ignorance respecting your sister's adventures to suppose 
that they had been purposely concealed from you. Had 
they reached your knowledge, from what misfortunes sliould 
both Agnes and myself have escaped? Fate liad ordained 
it otherwise. You were on your travels when I first became 
acquiiiiite<l with your sister; and as our enemies took care 



90 EOSARIO ; OR, 

to conceal from her your direction, it was impossible for her, 
to implore by letter your protection and advice. 

On leaving Salamanca, at which university, as I have 
since heard, you remained a year after I quitted it, I im- 
mediately set out upon my travels. My father supplied me 
liberally with money ; but he insisted upon my concealing 
my rank, and presenting myself no more than as a private gen- 
tleman. This command was issued by the counsels of his 
friend the Duke of Villa Hermosa, a nobleman for whose 
abilities and knowledge of the world I have ever entertained 
the most profound veneration. 

"Believe me," said he, "my dear Raymond, you will 
hereafter feel the benefits of this temporary degradation. 
'Tis true that, as theCoud^ de las Cisternas, you would have 
been received with open arms, and your youthful vanity 
might have felt gratified by the attentions showered upon 
you from all sides. At present, much will depend upon 
yourself ; you have excellent recommendations, but it-must 
be your own business to make them of use to you : you must 
lay yourself out to please ; you must labor to gain the ap- 
probation of those to whom you are presented : they who 
would have courted the friendship of the Cond6 de las 
Cisternas, will have no interest in finding out the merits, or 
bearing patiently with the faults, of Alphouso d'Alvarada : 
consequently, when you find yourself really liked, you may 
safely ascribe it to your good qualities, not your rank ; and 
the distinction shown you will be infinitely more flattering.' 
Besides, your exalted birth would not permit your mixing 
with the lower classes of society, which will now be in your 
power, and from which, in my opinion, you will derive con- 
siderable benefit. Do not confine yourself to the illustrious 
of those countries through which you pass. Examine the 
manners and customs of the multitude : enter into the cot- 
tages ; and, by observing how the vassals of foreigners are 
treated, learn to diminish the burthens, and augment the 



THE FEMALE MONK 91 

comforts, of your own. According to my ideas of tliose ad- 
vantages whicli a youth destined to tlie possession of power 
and wealth may reap from travel, he should not consider as 
the least essential, tlie opportunity of mixing with tlie classes 
below him, and becoming an eye-witness of the sufferings of 
the people." 

Forgive me, Lorenzo, if I seem tedious in my narration: 
the close connection wliich now exists between us, makes 
me anxious that you should know every particular respecting 
ine ; and in my fear of omitting the least circumstance which 
may induce you to tliiuk favorably of your sister and myself, 
I may possibly relate many which you may think uninter- 
esting. 

I followed the duke's advice ; I was soon convinced of its 
wisdom. I quitted Spain, calling myself by the assumed 
title of Don Alphonso d'Alvarada, and attended by a single 
domestic of ajiproved fidelity. Paris was my first station. 
For some time I was enclianted with it, as indeed must be 
every man wlio is young, rich, and fond of pleasure. Yet, 
among all its gaieties, I felt that something was wanting to 
my heart : I grew sick of dissipation : I discovered that the 
people among whom I lived, and whose exterior was so 
polished and seducing, were at bottom frivolous, unfeeling, 
and insincere. I turned from the inhabitants of Paris with 
disgust, and quitted that tlieatre of luxury witliout heaving 
one sigh of regret. 

I now bent my course towards Germany, intending to 
visit most of the principal courts. Prior to this expedition, 
I meant to make some little stay at Strasbourg. On quitting 
my chaise at Luneville, to take some refreshment, I observed 
a splendid equipage, attended by four domestics in rich 
liveries, waiting at the door of the Silver Lion. Soon after, 
as I looked out of the window, I saw a lady of noble pres- 
ence, followed by two female attendants, step into the car- 
riage, which drove off immediately. 



92 ROSARIO ; OR, 

I inquired of the host who the lady was that had just de 
parted. 

"A German baroness, monsieur, of great rank and for- 
tune ; she has been upon a visit to the Duchess of Longue- 
ville, as her servants informed me. She is going to Stras- 
bourg, where she will find her husband, and then both 
return to tlieir castle in Germany." 

I resumed my journey, intending to )'each Strasbourg that 
night. My hopes, however, were frustrated by the break- 
ing down of my chaise ;' the accident happened in the middle 
of a thick forest, and I was not a little embarrassed as to 
means of proceeding. It was the depth of winter ; the night 
was already closing round us ; and Strasbourg, which was 
the nearest town, was still distant from us several leagues. 
It seemed to me tliat my only alternative to passing the 
night in tlie forest was to take my servant's horse and ride 
on to Strasbourg ; an undertaking at that season very far 
from agreeable. However, seeing no otiier resource, I wap 
obliged to malte up my mind to it ; accordingly, 1 com- 
municated ijiy design to the postillion, telling liim that I 
would send people to assist liim as soon as I reached Stras- 
bourg.^ I had not mucli confidence in his honesty ; but 
Stepliano being well armed, and the driver, to all appear- 
ance, considerably advanced in years, I believe I ran no risk 
in losing my baggage. 

Luckily, as I then thought, an opportunity presented itself 
of passing the night, more agreeably than I expected. On 
mentioning my design of proceeding by myself to Stras- 
bourg, the postillion shook his head in disapprobation. 

" It is a long way," said he ; " you will find it a difficult 
matter to arrive there without a guide ; besides, monsieur 
seems unaccustomed to the season's severity ; and 'tis pos- 
sible that, unable to sustain the excessive cold — " 

■■'■ What use is there to present me with all these objec- 
tions?" said I, impatiently interrupting him: "I have uo 



THE I'-EMALE MONK 93 

Other resource ; I run still . greater risk of perishing with 
cold by passing the night in the forest." 

" Passing the night in the forest ! " he replied. " Oh, by 
St. Dennis ! we are not in quite so bad a plight as tluit conies 
to yet. If I am not mistaken, we are scarcely five minutes' 
walk from the cottage of my old friend Baptiste ; he is a 
woodcutter, and a very honest fellow. 1 doubt not but he 
will shelter you for the night with pleasure. In the mean- 
time, I can take the saddle-horse, ride to Strasbourg, and 
be back with proper people to mend your carriage bj' break 
of day." 

"And, in the name of God," said I, "how could you 
leave me so long in suspense ? Why did you not tell me of 
this cottage sooner? Wliat excessive stupidity ! " 

" 1 thought that perhaps monsieur would not deign to 
accept — " 

"Absurd! Come, come; say no more, but conduct us 
without delay to the woodman's cottage." 

He obeyed, and we luovecl onwards : the horses contrived 
with some difficulty to drag the shattered vehicle after us. My 
servant was become almost speechless, and I began to feel the 
effects of the cold myself before we reached the wished-for cot- 
tage. It was a small but neat building ; as we drew near it, I 
rejoiced at observing through the window the blaze of a 
comfortable fire. Our conductor knocked at the door ; it was 
some time before any one answered ; the people within seemed 
in doubt whether we should be admitted. 

" Come, come, friend Baptiste ! " cried the driver, with im- 
patience, "what are you about? Are you asleep? Or will 
you refuse a night's lodging to a gentleman whose chaise has 
just broken down in the forest?" 

" Ah ! is it you, honest Claude?" replied a man's voice from 
within ; " wait a moment, and the door shall be opened." 

Soon after the bolts were drawn back, the door was un- 
closed, and a man presented himself to us with a lamp in his 



94 BOSARIO ; OR, 

hand ; he gave the guide a hearty reception, and tlien ad- 
dressed himself to mo, — 

"Walk in, monsieur; walk in, and welcome. Excuse me 
for not admitting yon at first ; but there are so many rogues 
about this place that, saving your presence, I suspected you 
to be one." 

Thus saying, lie ushered me into the room where I liad 
observed the fire. I was immediately placed in an easy-chair 
which stood close to the hearth. A female, whom I supposed 
to be the wife of my host, rose from her seat upon my entrance, 
and received me witli a slight and distant reA'erence. She 
made no answer to my compliment, but, immediately re- 
seating herself, continued the work on which slie had been 
employed. Her hnsband's manners were as friendly as hers 
were harsh and repulsive. 

" I wish I could lodge you more convenientlj', monsieur," 
said he, " but we cannot boast of much spare room in this 
hovel. However, a chamber for yourself, and another for 
your servant, I think, we can make sliift to supply. You 
niust content yourself with sorry fare ; but to what we have, 
believe me, you are heartily welcome." Then, turning to his 
wife, — " Why, liow you sit there. Marguerite, with as much 
tranqnillity as if you had nothing better to do ! Stir about, 
dame ! stir about ! Get some supper ; loolc out some sheets. 
Here, here ! throw some logs upon the fire, for the gentleman 
seems perished with cold." 

The wife threw her work hastily upon the table, and pro- 
ceeded to execute his commands with every mark of unwill- 
ingness. Her countenance had displeased me on the first 
moment of my examining it ; yet, upon the whole, her features 
were hniidsome unquestionably ; bnt her skhi was sallow, and 
her, person thin and meagre : a louring gloom overspread her 
countenance, and it bore such visible marks jf rancor and iil- 
will, as could not escape being noticed by the most inattentive 
observer ; her every look and action expressed discontent and 



THE FEMALE MONK 95 

impatienee ; and the answers which she gave Baptiste, when 
he reproached her good-humoredly for lier dissatisfied air, 
were tart, short, and cutting. In fine, I conceived at first 
siglit equal disgust for lier, and prepossession in favor of her 
husband, whose appearance was calculated to inspire esteem 
and confidence. His countenance was open, sincere, and 
friendly ; his manners had all tlie peasant's honesty, unaccom- 
panied by his rudeness ; his cheeks were broad, full, and ruddy ; 
and in the solidity of his person lie seemed to offer an ample 
apology for the leanness of his wife's. From the wrinkles on 
his brow, I judged him to be turned of sixty ; bnt he bore his 
years well, and seemed still hearty and stTong. The wife 
could not be more than thirty, but in spirits and vivacity she 
was infinitely older than the husband. 

However, in spite of her unwillingness, Marguerite began 
to pi'epare the supper, while the woodman conversed gaily on 
different subjects. The postillion, who had been furnished 
with a bottle of spirits, was now ready to set out for Stras- 
bourg, and inquire whether I had any further conmiands. 

"For Strasbourg?" interrupted Baptiste; "you are not 
going thither to-night?" 

" I beg your jjardon ; if I do not fetch workmen to mend 
the chaise, how is monsieur to proceed to-morrow?" 

That is true, as you say ; I had forgotten the chaise. Well, 
but, Claude, you may at least eat your supper here ; that can 
make you lose very little time ; and monsieur looks too Icind- 
hearted to send you out with an empty stomach on sifch a 
bitter cold night as this is." 

To this I readily assented, telling the postillion that mj' 
reaching Strasbourg the next day an hour or two later would 
be perfectly immaterial. He thanked me, and then leaving 
the cottage with Stephano, put up his horses in the woodman's 
stable. Baptiste followed them to the door, and looked out 
with anxiety. 

"'Tis a sharp, biting wind," said he; " I wonder what 



96 KOSAKIO ; OR, 

detains my boys so long' ! Monsieur, I sjiall show you two of 
thie finest lads tliat ever stepped in shoes of leather : the eldest 
is three-and-twenty, the second a year younger : their equals 
for sense, courage, and activity, are not to be found within;-: 
fifty miles of Strasbourg. AVould they were back again ! I 
begin to feel uneasy about them. 

Marguerite was at this time employed in laying the cloth. 

" And are you equally anxious for the retiu-n of your sons?" 
said I to her. 

" Not I," she replied peevishlj' ; " they are no children of 
mine." 

" Come, come Marguerite ! " said the husband, " do not be 
out of humor with the gentleman for asking a simple question V 
h:id you not looked so cross, he would never have thought yon 
old enough to have a son of three-and-twenty ; but you see how.. 
many years ill-temper adds to you ! Excuse my wife's rude- 
ness, monsieur ; a little thing puts her out ; and she i^ some- 
what displeased at your not thinking her to be under thirty. 
Tliat is the truth, is it not, Marguerite ? You know, monsieur,.-." 
that age is always a ticklish subject with a woman. Come,"^ 
come, Marguerite ! clear up a little. If you have not sons as 
old, you will some twenty years hence ; and I hope that wc 
sluill live to see them just such lads as Jacques and Robert." 

Marguerite clasped her hands together passionately. 

"God forbid ! " said she, " God forbid ! If I thought it, 
I would strangle them with my own hands." 

Slie quitted tlie room hastily, and went upstairs. 

I could not help expressing to the woodman how nmch I 
pitied iiim for being chained for life to a partner of such ill- 
humor. 

"Ah, Lord! monsieur, everyone has his share of griev- 
ances, and Marguerite has fallen to mine. Besides,' after all, 
she is only cross, and not malicious; the worst is, that her 
affection for two children by a former husband, makes -her 
play the step-mother with my two sons ; she cannot bear the 



THE FEMALE MONK 97 

sight of them ; and by her good-wiil, they would never set a 
foot within my door. But on this point I always stand firm, 
and never will consent to abandon the poor lads to tlie world's 
mercy, as she lias often solicited me to do. In everything 
else I let her liave her own way ; and truly she manages a 
family rarelj', that I nmst say for her." 

"We were conversing in this manner, when oui' discourse was 
interrupted by a loud halloo, which rang through the forest. 

" My sons, I hope ! " exclaimed the woodman, and ran to 
open the door. 

The halloo w-as repeated. "We now distinguished the 
trampling of horses ; and soon after, a carriage attended by 
several cavaliers stopped at the cottage door. One of the 
horsemen inquired how far they were still distant from 
Strasbourg. As he addressed himself to me, I answered in 
the number of miles which Claude had told me ; upon which 
a volley of curses was vented against the drivers for having 
lost their way. The persons in the coach were now informed 
of the distance of Strasbourg ; and also that the horses were 
so fatigued as to be incapable of proceeding further. A lady, 
who appeared to be the principal, expressed much chagrin at 
this intelligence ; but as there was no remedy, one of the 
attendants asked the woodman whether he could furnish them 
with lodgings for the night. 

He seemed much embarrassed, and replied in the negative ; 
adding, that a Spanish gentleman and his servant were already 
in possession of the only spare apartment in his house. On 
hearing this, the gallantry of my nation would not permit me 
to retain those accommodations of which a female was in want. 
I instantly signified to the woodman, that I transferred my 
right to the lady ; he made some objections, but I overruled 
them, and hastening to the carriage, opened the door, and 
assisted the lady to descend. I immediately recognized hei 
for the same person whom I had seen at the inn at Luueville 

KOSABIO 7 



98 fiosARio ; OR, 

I took an oppoi'tunity of asking one of her attendants what 
was her name ? 

" The Baroness Lindenberg," was the answer. 

I could not but remark how different a reception our host 
had given these new-comers and myself. His reluctance to 
admit them was visibly expressed on his countenance ; and 
he prevailed on himself with difficulty to tell the lady that she 
was welcome. I conducted her into the house, and placed 
her in the arm-cliair wliicli I liad just quitted. She thanked 
me very graciously, and made a tiioiisand apologies for putting 
me to an inconvenience. Suddenly tlie woodman's counte- 
nance cleared up. 

" At last I have arranged it ! " said he, interrupting her 
excuses. " I can lodge you and your suite, madam, and you 
will not be under the necessity of making this gentleman 
suffer for his politeness. We have two spare chambers, one 
for the lady, tlie other, monsieur, for you ; my wife shall give 
up hers to the -two waiting-women ; as for the men-servants, 
they must content themselves with passing the night in a 
large barn, which stands at a few yards distance from the 
house ; there they shall have a blazing fire, and as good a 
supper as we can make shift to give them." 

After several expressions of gratitude on the lady's part, 
and opposition on mine to Marguerite's giving up her bed, 
this arrangement was agreed to. As the room was small, 
the baroness immediately dismissed her male domestics. Bap- 
tiste was on the point of conducting them to the barn which 
he had mentioned, when two young men appeared at the door 
of the cottage. 

"Hell and furies!" exclaimed the first, starting back. 
" Eobert, the house is filled with strangers ! " 

" Ha ! there are my sons ! " cried our host. "\Vuy, Jacques ! 
Robert ! whither are you running, boys? there is room enough 
still for you." 

Upon this assurance the youths returned. The father 



THE FEMALE MONK 99 

presented them to tlie baroiioss and myself ; after -whicli he 
withdrew with our domestics, while, at the request of the two 
wiiiting-women, Marguerite conducted them to the room 
destined for their mistress. 

The two new-comers were tall, stout, well-made young men, 
hard-featured, and very much sunhurnt. They paid their 
compliments to us in few words, and acknowledged Claude, 
who now entered the room as an old acquaintance. They 
then threw aside their cloaks in whicli they were wrapped up, 
took off a leathern belt to which a large cutlass was suspended, 
and each drawing a brace of pistols from his girdle laid them 
upon a shelf. 

" Yon travel well armed," said I. 

" True, monsieur," replied Robert. " "We left Strasbourg 
late this evening, and 'tis necessary to take precautions at 
passing through this forest after dark ; it does not bear a 
good repute, I promise yon." 

"How!" said the baroness, "are there robbers here- 
about?" 

" So it is said, madam ; for my own part, I have travelled 
through the wood at all hours, and never met with one of 
them." 

Here Marguerite returned. Her step-sons drew her to the 
other end of the room, and whispered her for some minutes. 
By the looks which they cast towards us at intervals, I conject- 
ured them to be inquiring our business in the cottage. 

In the meanwhile, the baroness expressed her apprehen- 
sions that her husband would be suffering much anxiety upon 
her account. She had intended to send on one of lier servants 
to inform the baron of her delay; but tiie aceonnt which tlie 
young men gave of tlie forest rendered tliis plan impracticable. 
Claude relieved her from lier embarnissment ; lie informed her 
that he was under the necessity of reaching Strasbourg that 
night, and that would she trust him with a letter, she might 
depend upon its being safely delivered. 



100 ROSARIO ; OR, 

"And how comes it," said I, " tlmt you are under nc 
apprehension of meeting tliese robliers?" 

" Alas ! monsieur, a poor man with a large family must not 
lose certain profit because 'tis attended with a little danger ; 
and perhaps my lord the baron maj' give me a trifle for my 
pains ; besides, I have nothing to lose except my life, and tliat 
will not be worth the robbers taking." 

I thought his argument bad, and advised his waiting till 
the morning ; but as tlie baroness did not second me, I was 
obliged to give up the point. The Baroness Lindenberg, as 
I found afterwards, had long been accustomed to sacrifice the 
interest of others to her own, and her wish to send Claude to 
Strasbourg blinded her to the danger of the undertaking. 
Accordingly, it was resolved that he should set out without 
delay. The baroness wrote a letter to her husband ; and I 
sent a few lines to my banker, apprising him that I should 
not be at Strasbourg till the next day. Claude took our letters 
and left the cottage. 

The lady declared herself mucli fatigued by her journey ; 
besides having come from some distance, the drivers Jiad con- 
trived to lose their way in the forest. She now addressed 
herself to Marguerite, desiring to be shown to her chamber, 
and permitted to take half an hour's repose. One of the wait- 
ing-women was immediately summoned ; she appeared with a 
light, and the baroness followed her upstairs. The cloth was 
spreading in the chamber wliere I was, and Marguerite soon 
gave me to understand tliat I was in her way. Her hints 
were too broad to be easily mistaken ; I therefore desired one 
of the young men to conduct me to the chamber where I 
was to sleep, and where I could remain till supper was 
ready. 

" Which chamber is it, mother?" said Robert. 

" The one with green hangings," she replied. " I have just 
been at the trouble of getting it ready, and have put- fresh 



THE FEMALE MONK 101 

sheets upon tht, bed ; if the gentlemiui chooses to loll and 
lounge upon it, he may make it again himself, for me." 

"You are out of humor, mother; but that is no novelty. 
Have the goodness to follow me, monsieur." 

He opened tlie door and advanced towards a narrow stair- 
case. 

" You have got no light," said Marguerite ; is it your own 
neck or the gentleman's that you have a mind to break?" 

She crossed by me, and -put a candle into Robert's hand ; 
having received which, he" began to ascend the staircase. 
Jacques was employed in laying the cloth, and his back was 
turned towards me. Marguerite seized the moment when we 
were unobserved ; she caught my hand and pressed it strongly. 

" Look at the sheets ! " said she, as she passed me, and im- 
mediately resumed her former occupation. 

Startled by the abruptness of her action, I remained as if 
petrified. Robert's voice desiring me to follow liirn recalled 
me to myself. I ascended the staircase. My conductor 
ushered me into a chamber where an excellent wood fire was 
blazing upon the hearth. He placed the light upon the table, 
inquired whether I had any further commands, and on my 
replying in the negative, left me to myself. You may be 
certain that the moment when I found myself alone, was that 
on which I complied with Marguerite's injunction. I took 
the candle hastily, approached the bed and turned down the 
coverture. What was my astonishment, my horror, at find- 
ing the sheets crimsoned with blood ! 

At that moment a thousand confused ideas passed before my 
imagination. The robbers who infested the wood, - Mar- 
guerite's exclamations respecting her children, the arms and 
appearance of the two young men, and the various anecdotes 
which I had heard related respecting the secret correspondence 
which frequently exists between banditti and postillions ; all 
these circumstances flashed upon my mind, and inspired me 
with doubt and apprehension. I ruminated on the most 



102 EOSARIO ; OR, 

probable means of ascertaining the truth of my conjectures. 
Suddenly I was aware of someone below pacing hastily back- 
wards and forwards. Everything now appeared to rac an 
object of suspicion. Witli precaution I drew near the window 
which, as tlie room had been long shut up, was left open, in 
spite of the cold. I ventured to look out. The beams of the 
moon iK'iniitted me to distinguish a man, wliom I had no 
difficulty to recognize for my host. I wii tched liis movements. 
He walked swiftly, then stopped and seemed to listen ; he 
stamped upon the ground, and beat his stomach with his aruip., 
as if to guard himself from tlie inclemency of the season ; at 
the least noise, if a voice was heard in the lower part of the 
house, if a bat flitted past him, or the wind rattled amidst the 
leafless boughs, he started and looked round witli anxiety. 

"Plague take him!" said lie at length, with extreme im- 
patience ; " what can he be about?" 

He spoke in a low voice ; but as he was just below my 
window, I had no difficulty to distinguish liis words. 

I now heard the steps of one approacliing. Baptiste went 
towards the sound ; he joined a man, whom his low stature 
and the horn suspended from his neck declared to be no 
other than my faithful Claude, whom I had supposed to be 
already on his way to Strasbourg. Expecting their discourse 
to throw some light upon my situation, I hastened to put my- 
self in a condition to hear it with safety. For this purpose 
I extinguished the candle, which stood upon a table near the 
bed ; the flame of the fire was not strong enough to betray 
me, and I immediately resumed my place at the window. 

The objects of my curiosity had stationed themselves 
directly under it. I supposed that, during my momentary 
absence, the woodman had been blaming Claude for tardiness, 
since when I returned to the window the latter was endeavor- 
ing to excuse his fault. 

"However," added he, "my diligence at present shall 
make up for my past delay." 



THE FEMALE MONK 103 

" On that condition," answered Baptiste, " I sliall readily 
forgive you ; but in trutli, as you share equally with us in our 
prizes, your own interest will make you use all possible dili- 
gence. 'Twould be a shame to let such a noble booty escape 
us. You say tliat this Spaniard is rich." 

" His servant boasted at the inn that the effects in his 
chaise were worth above two thousand pistoles." 

Oh ! how 1 cursed Stephauo's imprudent vanity. 

"And I have been told," continued the postillion, "that 
this baroness carries about her a casket of jewels of immense 
value." 

" May be so, but I had rather she had stayed away. The 
Spaniard was a secure prey ; the boys and myself could easily 
have mastered him and his servant, and then the two thousand 
pistoles would have been shared between us four. Now wo 
must let in the band for a share, or perhaps the whole covey 
may escape us. Should our friends have betaken themselves 
to their different posts before you reach the cavern, all will be 
lost. The lady's attendants are too numerous for us to over- 
power them. Unless our associates arrive in time, we must 
needs let these travellers set out to-morrow without damage 
or hurt." 

" 'Tis plaguy unlucky that my comrades who drove the 
coach should be those unacquainted with our confederacy ! 
But never fear, friend Baptiste : an hour will bring me to the 
cavern ; it is now but ten o'clock, and by twelve you may 
expect the arrival of the band. By-the-bye, take care of your 
wife ; you know how strong is her repugnance to our mode of 
life, and she may find means to give information to the lady's 
servants of our design." 

"Oh ! I am secure of her silence ; she is too much afraid 
of me, and fond of her children, to dare to betray my secret. 
Besides, Jacques and Robert keep a strict eye over her, and 
she is not permitted to set a foot out of the cottage. The 
servants are safely lodged in the barn, I shall endeavor to 



lO* BOSAMO ; OR, 

keep all quiet till the arrival of our friends. Were I assured 
of your finding them, the strangers should be despatched 
this instant ; but as it is possible for you to miss the ban- 
ditti, I am fearful of being summoned by their domestics to 
produce them in the morning." 

"And suppose either of the travellers should discover 
your design ? " 

" Then we must poniard those in our power, and take our 
chance about mastering the rest. However, to avoid run- 
ning such a risk, hasten to the cavern ; the banditti never 
leave it before eleven, and if you use diligence you may 
reach it in time to stop them." 

"Tell Eobert that I have taken his horse; my own has 
broken his bridle, and escaped into the wood. What is the 
watchword ? " 

" The reward of courage." 

" 'Tis sufficient. I hasten to the cavern." 

" And I to rejoin my guests, lest my absence should create 
suspicion. Farewell, and be diligent." 

These worthy associates now separated ; the one bent his 
course towards the stable, while the other returned to the 
house. 

You may judge what must have been my feelings during 
this conversation, of which I lost not a single syllable. I 
dared not trust myself to my reflections, nor did any means 
present itself to escape the dangers which threatened me. 
Resistance I knew to be vain ; I was unarmed, and a single 
man against three. However, I resolved at least to sell my 
life as dearly as I could. Dreading lest Baptiste should per- 
ceive my absence, and suspect me to have overheard the 
message with which Claude was despatched, I hastily re- 
lighted my candle and quitted the chamber. On descending, 
I found the table spread for six persons. The baroness sat 
by the fireside ; Marguerite was employed in dressing a 
salad, aud her step-sons were whispering together at the fur- 



THE FEMALE MONK 105 

ther end of the room. Baptiste, having the roun'l of the 
garden to make ere he could reach the cottage door, was not 
yet arrived. I seated myself quietly opposite to the biii'oness. 

A glance npon Marguerite told her that her hint had not 
been thrown away upon me. How different did she now 
appear to me ! What before seemed gloom and sullenness, 
I now found to be disgust at her associates and compassion 
for my danger. I looked up to lier as to my only resource ; 
yet, knowing lier to be watched by her husband with a sus- 
picious eye, I couUl place but little reliance on the exertions 
of her good-will. 

In spite of all my endeavors to conceal it, my agitation 
was but too visiljly expressed npon my countenance. I was 
pale, and both my words and actions were disordered and 
embarrassed. The young men observed this, and inquired 
the cause. I attributed it to excess of fatigue, :nid the 
violent effect produced on me by the severity of the season. 
Whether they believed me or not, I will not pretend to say ; 
they at least ceased to embarrass me with their questions. 
I strove to divert my attention from the perils which sur- 
rounded me, by conversing on different subjects with the 
baroness. I talked of Germany, declaring my intention of 
visiting it immediately : God knows that I little thought at 
that moment of ever seeing it ! She replied to me with great 
ease and politeness, professed that the pleasure of making 
my acquaintance amply compensated for the delay in her 
journey, and gave me a pressing invitation to make some 
stay at the castle of Lindenberg. As she spoke thus, the 
youths exchanged a malicious smile, which declared that she 
would be fortunate if she ever reached that castle herself. 
This action did not escape me ; but I concealed the emotion 
which it excited in my bi'east. I continued to converse with 
the lady ; but my discourse was so frequently incoherent 
that, as she has since informed me, she began to doubt 
whether I was in my right senses. The fact was, that wtiile 



106 EOSAEIO ; OR, 

my conversation turned upon one subject, my thoughts were 
entirely occupied by another. I meditated npoa the means 
of quitting the cottage, finding my way to tlic barn, and 
giving the domestics information of our host's designs. I 
was soon convinced liow impracticable was tlie attempt. 
Jacques and Eobcrt watclied me every moment with an at- 
tentive eye, and I was obliged to abandon tlie idea. All my 
hopes now rested upon Claude's not finding the banditti. In 
that case, according to ivhat I had overheard, we should be 
permitted to depart unhurt. 

I sliuddered involuntarily as Baptiste entered the room. 
He made many apologies for his long absence, but, he had 
"been detained by affairs impossible to be delayed." He 
then entreated permission for his family to sup at the same 
table with us, without which, respect would not authorize 
his taking such a liberty. Oli ! how in my heart I cursed 
the hypocrite ! how I loathed his presence, who was on the 
point of depriving me of an existence, at that time infinitely 
dear ! I had every reason to be satisfied with life ; I had 
youth, wealth, rank, and education, and the fairest prospects 
presented themselves before me. I saw those prospects on 
the point of closing in the most horrible manner ; yet was I 
obliged to dissimulate, and to receive with a semblance of 
gratitude the false civilities of him who held the dagger to 
my bosom. 

The permission which our host demanded was easily ob- 
tained. We seated ourselves at tlie table. Tlie baroness 
aud myself occupied one side ; the sons were opposite to us, 
with their backs to the door. Baptiste took his seat by the 
baroness, at the upper end ; and the place next to him was 
left for his wife. She soon entered the room, and placed 
before us a plain but comfortable peasant's repast. Our 
host thought it necessary to apologize for the poorness of 
the supper ; he had not beeu apprized of our coming ; he 



THE FEMALE MONK 107 

could only offer us such fare as had been intended for his 
own family. 

" But," added he, " should any accident detain my noble 
guests longer than tliey at present intend, I hope to give 
them a better treatment." 

The villain ! I well knew the accident to which he al- 
luded. I shuddered at the treatment which he tauglit us to 
expect. 

My companion in danger seemed entirely to have got rid 
of her chagrin at being delayed. She laughed, and con- 
versed with the family with infinite gaiety. I strove, but in 
vain, to follow her example. My spirits were evidently 
forced, and the constraint which I put upon myself escaped 
not Baptiste's observation. 

" Come, come, monsieur, cheer up ! " said he ; " you seem 
not quite recovered from your fatigue. To raise your spirits, 
wliat say you to a glass of excellent old wine which was left 
me by my father? God rest his soul, he is in a better 
world ! — I seldom produce this wine ; but as I am not hon- 
ored with such guests every day, this is an occasion which 
deserves a bottle." 

He then gave his wife a key, and instructed here where to 
find the wine of wliich he spoke. She seemed by no means 
pleased with the commission ; she took the key with an em- 
barrassed air, and hesitated to quit the table. 

" Did you hear me ? " said Baptiste in an angry tone. 

Marguerite darted upon him a look of mingled anger and 
fear, and left the chamber. His eyes followed her sus- 
piciously till she had closed the door. 

She soon returned with a bottle sealed with yellow wax. 
She placed it upon the table, and gave the key back to her 
husband. I suspected that this liquor was not presented to 
us without design, and I watched Marguerite's movements 
with inquietude. She was employed in rinsing some small 
horn goblets. As she placed them before Baptiste, she saw 



108 KOSARIO; OR, 

that my eye was fixed upon her ; nnd at the moment when 
she thought herself unobserved bj' the banditti, she motioned 
to me with her head not to taste the liquor. She thee re- 
sumed her place. 

In the meanwhile our host liad drawn thi' corlv, and, tilling 
two of the goblets, offered them to tlie lady and myself. 
She at first made some objections, but the insistanoes of 
Baptiste were so urgent, that slie was oh'igi'd to comply. 
Fearing to excite suspicion, I hesitated not to talce the goblet 
presented to me. By its smell and color, 1 guessed it to be 
champagne ; but some grains of powder floating upon the 
top convinced me tluit it was not unadulterated. However, 
I ilare not to express my repugnance to drinking it ; I lifted 
it to my lips, and seemed to be swallowing it ; suddenly 
starting from my chair, I made the best of my way towards 
a vase of water at some distance, in whicli i\Iarguerite had 
been rinsing the goblets. I pretended to spit out the wine 
with disgust, and took an opportunity, uuperceived, of 
emptying tlie liquor into the vase. 

Tlie banditti seemed alarmed at iny action. Jacques half 
rose from his chair, put liis hand into his bosom, and I dis- 
covered the haft of a dagger. I returned to my seat with 
tranquillity, and affected not to have observed their con- 
fusion. 

"You have not suited my taste, honest friend," said Ij 
addressing myself to Baptiste ; " 1 never can drink cham- 
pagne witljout its producing a violent illness. I swallowed 
a few mouthf uls ere I was aware of its quality, and feai- that 
I shall suffer for my imprudence." 

Baptiste and Jacques exchanged looks of distrust. 

" Perhaps," said Robert, " the smell may be disagreeable 
to you ? " 

He quitted his chair and removed the goblet. I obseiTeO 
that ue examined whether it was nearly empty. 



THF> FEMALE MONK 109 

'-' He must htivo drfuik .sufficient," said ho to liis lirotliev, 
in a low voice, wliile lie reseated himself. 

iMaiguerite loolvcd apprehensive that I had taslod the 
liquor. A glance from my <'3'(' re-assiired her. 

I waited witji anxiety for the effccls which the lievera.ge 
would produce upon tlio kidy. I doulited not hut the grains 
which I had obsencd -were poisonous, and lanicnicd that it 
had been impossible for me to warn her of the daiifjer. But 
a few minutes had elapsed before I pei'ceived her eyes grow 
heavy ; her head sank upon her shoulder, and she fell into a 
deep sleep. I affected not to attend to this circumstance, 
f.nd continued my conversation with Baptistc, with all the 
outward gaiety in my power to assume. But he no longer 
answered me without constraint. He eyed me with distrust 
and astonishment, and I saw that the banditti were fre- 
quently whispering among themselves. My situation be- 
came every moment more painful ; I sustained the character 
of confidence with a worse grace than ever. Equally afraid 
of the arrival of their accomplices, and of their suspecting 
my knowledge of their designs, I knew not how to dissipate 
the distrust which the banditti evidently entertained of me. 
In this new dilemma the friendly Marguerite again assisted 
me. Shf! passed behind the chairs of her step-sons, stopped 
for a moment opposite to me, closed her eyes, and reclined 
iier head upon her shoulder. This hint immediately dispelled 
my incertitude. It told me that I ought to imitate the 
i)urone8s, and pretend that the liquor had taken its full 
effect upon me. I did so, and in a few minutes seemed per- 
fectly overcome with slumber. 

" So ! " cried Baptiste, as I fell back in my cliair, " at 
last he sleeps ! I began to think that he had scented our 
design, and that we should have been forced to despatch 
him at all events." 

"And why not despatch him at all (events?" inquired the 
ferocious Jacques; "why leave him the possibility of be- 



110 EOSARio ; OR, 

traying our secret? Marguerite, give me one of my pistols*,, 
a single touch of the trigger will finish him at once.' 

"And supposing," rejoined the fatiier, "supposing that 
our f i-iends should not arrive to-night, a pretty figure we 
sliould make when the servants inquire for him in the morn- 
ing ! No, no, Jacques ; we must wait for our associates. 
If they join us, we are strong enough to despatch the domestics 
as well as their masters, and the booty is our own. If 
Claude does not find the troop, we must take patience, and 
suffer the prey to slip througli our fingers. Ah ! boys, boys, 
had you arrived but five minutes sooner, the Spaniard would 
have been done for, and two thousand pistoles our own. 
But you are always out of the way when you are most 
wanted. You are the most unlucky rogues — " 

" Well, well, father ! " answered Jacques ; " had you been 
of my mind,' all would have been over by tliis time. You, 
Robert, Claude, and myself — why, the strangers were but 
double the number, and I warrant you we might have mas- 
tered them. However, Claude is gone ; 'tis too late to think 
of it now. We must wait patiently for the arrival of tlie 
gang ; and if tiie travellers escape us to-night, we must take 
care to waylay them to-morrow." 

"True! true!" said Baptiste ; "Marguerite, have you 
given the sleeping draught to the waiting-women ? " 

Slie veplied in the affirmative. 

"All then is safe. Come, come, boys; whatever falls 
out, we have no reason to complain of this adventure. Wo 
run no danger, may gain much, and can lose nothing." 

At this moment I heard a trampling of horses. Oh ! how 
dreadful was the sound to my ears ! A cold sweat flowed 
down my forehead, and I felt all the terrors of impending 
death. I was by no means re-assured by hearing the com- 
passionate Marguerite exclaim in the accents of despair, — 

"Almighty God ! they are lost." 

Luckily the woodman and his sons were too much oc- 



THE FEMALE MONK 111 

cupied by the arrival of their associates to attend to me, or 
the violence of my agitation would have convinced them that 
my sleep was feigned. 

"Open! open!" exclaimed several voices on the outside 
of the cottage. 

"Yea! yes!" cried Baptiste joyfully; "they are our 
friends, sure enough. Now, then, our booty is certain. 
Away ! lads, away ! Lead them to the barn ; you know then 
what is to be done there." 

Robert hastened to open the door of the cottage. 

"But first," said Jacques, taking up his arms, " first let 
me despatch these sleepers." 

" No, no, no ! " replied his father. " Go you to the barn, 
where your presence is wanted. Leave me to take care of 
these and the women above." 

Jacques obeyed, and followed his brother. They seemed 
to converse with the new-comers for a few minutes ; after 
which I heard the robbers dismount, and, as I conjectured, 
bend their course towards the barn. 

"So! that is wisely done!" muttered Baptiste; "they 
have quitted their horses, that they may fall upon the stran- 
gers by surprise. Good ! good ! and now to business." 

I heard him approach a small cupboard which was fixed 
up in a distant part of the room and unlock it. At this 
moment I felt myself shaken gently. 

" Now ! now ! " whispered Marguerite. 

I opened my eyes. Baptiste stood with his back towards 
me. No one else was in the room save Marguerite and the 
sleeping lady. The villain had taken a dagger from the cup- 
board, and seemed examining whether it was sufficiently 
sharp. I had neglected to furnish myself with arms ; but I 
perceived this to be my only chance of escaping, and re- 
solved not to lose the opportunity. I sprang from my seat, 
darted suddenly upon Baptiste, and, clasping my hands 
round his throat, pressed it so forcibly as to prevent his 



112 EOSAHIO ; OR, 

utteiiug a single cry. You may remember that I was re- 
markable t +, Salamanca for the power of my arm. It now 
rendered me an essential service. Surprised, terrified, and 
breathless, the villain was bj' no means an equal antagonist. 
I threw liim upon tlie ground ; I grasped him still tighter ; 
and while I fixed him witliout motion upon the floor. Mar- 
guerite, wresting the dagger from his hand, plunged it re- 
peatedly In liis lieart till he expired. 

No sooner was this horrible but necessary act perpetrated, 
than Marguerite called on me to follow her. 

"Flight is oui; only refuge," said she, "quick! quick! 
away ! " 

I hesitated not to obey her ; but unwilling to leave the 
baroness a victim to the vengeance of the robbers, I raised 
her in my arms still sleeping, and hastened after Marguerite. 
The horses of the banditti were fastened near the door. My 
conductress sprang upon one of them. I followed her ex- 
ample, placed the baroness before me, and spurred on my 
horse. Our only hope was to reach Strasbourg, which was 
much nearer than the perfidious Claude had assured me. 
Marguerite was well acquainted with the road, and galloped 
on before me. We were obliged to pass by the barn, where 
the robbers were slaughtering our domestics. The door was 
open ; we distinguished the shrieks of the dying, and impre- 
cations of the murderers. "What I felt at this moment 
language is unable to describe. 

Jacques heard the trampling of our horses, as we rnslied 
by the barn. He flew ro the door with a burning torch in 
his ha-i'l, and easily recognized the fugitives. 

" Betrayed ! betrayed ! " he shouted to his companions. 

Instantly tlioy left their bloody work, and hastened to re- 
gain their liorses. We heard no more. I buried my spurs 
in the sides of my courser, and Marguerite goaded on hers 
with the poniard wliich had already rendered us such good 
service. We flew like lightning, and gained the open plains. 



THE FEMAI^E MONK 113 

Already was Strasbourg's steeple in sight, when we heard tlie 
robbers pursuing us. Marguerite loolfed hack, and dis- 
tinguished our followers descending a small hill at no great 
distance. It was in vain that we urged on our horses ; the 
noise approached nearer every moment. 

" We are lost ! " she exclaimed ; " the villains gain upon 
us ! " 

" On ! on ! " replied I ; "I hear the trampling of horses 
coming from the town." 

"We redoubled our exertions, and were soon aware of a 
numerous band of cavaliers, who came towards us at full 
speed. They were on the point of passing us. 

" Stay ! stay ! " shrieked Marguerite ; " save us ! for God's 
sake, save us ! " 

The foremost, who seemed to act as guide, immediately 
reined in his steed. 

«' 'Tis she ! 'tis she ! " exclaimed he, springing upon the 
ground. "Stop, my lord, stop! they are safe! 'tis my 
mother." 

At the same moment Marguerite threw herself from her 
horse, clasped him in her arms, and covered him with kisses. 
The other cavaliers stopped at the exclamation. 

" The Baroness Lindenberg ! " cried another of the stran- 
gers eagerly. " Where is she? Is she not with you?" 

He stopped on beholding her lying senseless in my arms. 
Hastily he caught her from me. The profound sleep in 
which she was plunged, made him at first treiijble for her 
life ; but the beating of her heart soon re-assured him. 

" God be thanked ! " said he, " she has escaped unhurt." 

I interrupted his joy by pointing out the brigands who 
continued to approach. No sooner had I mentioned them, 
than the greater part of the company, which appeared to be 
chiefly composed of soldiers, liastened forward to meet them. 
The villains stayed not to receive their attack. Perceiving 
their danger, they turned the heads of their horses, and fled 

KOSAKIfi 8 



114 ROSARIO ; OR, 

into the wood, whither they were followed by our preservers. 
In the meanwhile the stranger, whom I guessed to be the 
Baron Lindenberg, after thanking me for my care of iiis 
lady, proposed our returning with all speed to the town^ 
The baroness, on whom the effects of the opiate had not 
ceased to operate, was placed before him ; Marguerite and 
her son remounted their horses ; the baron's domestics fol- 
lowed, £lnd we soon arrived at the inn, where he had taken 
his apartments. 

This was at the Austrian Eagle, where my bauker, wliom, 
before my quitting Paris, I had apprized of my intention to 
visit Strasbourg, had prepared lodgings for me. I rejoiced 
at this circumstance. It gave me an opportunity of culti- 
vating the baron's acquaintance, which I foresaw would be 
of use to me in Germany. Immediately upon our arrival 
the lady was conveyed to bed. A physician was sent for, who 
prescribed a medicine likely to counteract the effects of the 
sleepy potion ; and after it had been poured down her throat, 
she was committed to the care of the hostess. The baron 
tlien addressed himself to me, and entreated me to recount 
the particulars of this adventure. I complied with his re- 
quest instantaneously ; for, in pain respecting Stephano's 
fate, whom I had been compelled to abandon to the cruelty 
of the banditti, I found it impossible for me to repose till I 
had some news of him. I received but too soon the in- 
telligence that my trusty servant had perished. The soVdiers 
who had pursued the brigands returned while I was employed 
in relating my adventure to the baron. By their account, I 
found that the robbers had been overtaken. Guilt and true 
courage are incompatible ; they had thrown themselves at 
the feet of their pursuers ; had surrendered themselves with- 
out striking a blow; had discovered their secret retreat, 
made known their signals by wliicli the rest of the gang 
might be seized, and, in short, lind betrayed every mark of 
cowardice and baseness. By. this means the whole of the 



THE FEMALE MONK 115 

band, consisting of near sixty persons, had been made 
prisoners, bound, and conducted to Strasbourg. Some of 
tlie soldiers hastened to tlie cottage, one of the banditti 
serving them as guide. Their iirst visit was to the fatal 
barn, where they were fortunate enough to find two of the 
baron's servants still alive, though desperately wounded. 
The rest had expired beneath the swords of the robbers, and 
of these my unhappy Stephano was one. 

Alarmed at our escape, the robbers, in their haste to over- 
take us, had neglected to visit the cottage ; in consequence, 
the soldiers found the two waiting- women unhurt, and buried 
in the same death-like slumber which had overpowered their 
mistress. There was nobody else found in the cottage, ex- 
cept a child not above four years old, which the soldiers 
brought away with them. We were busying ourselves with 
conjectures respecting the birth of this little unfortunate, 
when Marguerite rushed into the room with the baby in her 
arms. She fell at the feet of the officer who was making us 
this report, and blessed him a thousand times for the preser- 
vation of her child. 

When the first burst of maternal tenderness was over, I 
besouglit her to declare by what means she had been united 
to a man whose principles seemed so totally discordant with 
her own. She bent her eyes downwards, and wiped a few 
tears from her cheek. 

" Gentlemen,'' said she, after a silence of some minutes, 
'-' I would request a favor of you. You have a right to 
know on whom j'ou confer an obligation ; I will not, there- 
fore, stifle a confession which covei-s me with shame ; but 
permit me to comprise it in as few words as possible. 

" I was born in Strasbourg, of respectable parents ; their 
names I must at present conceal. My father still lives, and 
desersTS not to be involved in my infamy. If you grant 
my request, you shall be informed of my family name. A 
villain made himself master of my affections, and to follow 



116 ROSARIO ; OR, 

him I quitted my fatlioi's house. Yet, though my passions 
overpowered my virtue, I sunk not into thiit degeneracy of 
vice but too commonly the lot of women who make the first 
false step. I loved my seducer, dearly loved him ! 1 was 
true to his bed : this baby, and the youth who warned you, 
my lord baron, of your lady's danger, are the pledges of 
our affection. Even at this momenti lament his loss, tliough 
'tis to him that I owe all the miseries of my existence. 

" He was of noble birth, but he had squandered away his 
paternal inheritance. His relations considered him as a dis- 
grace to their name, and utterly discarded him. His ex- 
cesses drew upon him the indignation of the police. He was 
obliged to fly from Strasbourg, and saw no other resource 
from beggary than a union with the banditti who infested 
the neighboring forest, and whose troop was chiefly com- 
posed of young men of family in the same predicament with 
himself. .1 was determined not to forsake him. I followed 
him to the cavern of the brigands, and shared with him the 
misery inseparable from a life of pillage. But though I was 
aware that our existence was supported by plunder, I knew 
not all the horrible circumstances attached to my lover's 
profession : these he concealed from me with the utmost 
care. He was conscious that my sentiments were not suf- 
ficiently depraved to look without horror upon assassination. 
He supposed, and with justice, that I should fly with de- 
testation from the embraces of a murderer. Eight years of 
possession had not abated his love for me ; and he cautiously 
removed from my knowledge every circumstance which might 
lead me to suspect the crimes in which he but too often par- 
ticipated. He succeeded perfectly. It was not till after 
my seducer's death that I discovered his hands to be stained 
with tiie blood of the innocent. 

"One fatal night he was brought back to the cavern, 
covered with wounds : he received them in attacking an Eng- 
lish traveller, whom his companions imniod lately sacrificed 



THE FEMALK MONK 117 

to their resentment. He bad only time to entreat my pardon 
for all the sorrows which he had caused me ; he pressed my 
hand to his lips, and expired. My grief was inexpressible. 
As soon as its violence abated, I resolved to return to Stras- 
bourg, to throw myself, with my two children, at my father's 
feet, and implore his forgiveness, though I little hoped to 
obtain it. "What was my consternation when informed that 
no one entrusted with the secret of their retreat was ever 
permitted to quit the troop of the banditti ; that I must give 
up all hopes of ever rejoining society, and consent instantly 
to accept one of their band for my husband ! My prayers 
and remonstrances were vain. They cast lots to decide t6 
whose possession 1 should fall. I became the property of 
the infamous Baptiste. A robber, who had once Ijeen a monk, 
pronounced over us a burlesque rather than a religious cere- 
mony ; I and my children were delivered into tlie hands of 
my new husband, and he conveyed us immediately to his 
home. 

" He assured me that he had long entertained for me the 
most ardent regard ; but that friendship for my deceased 
lover had obliged him to stifle his desires. He endeavored 
to reconcile me to my fate, and for some time treated me with 
respect and gentleness. At length, finding that my aversion 
rather increased than diminished, he obtained those favors 
by violence which I persisted to refuse him. No resource 
remained for me but to bear my sorrows with patience ; I was 
conscious tliat I deserved them but too well. Flight was 
forbidden. My children were in the power of Baptiste, and 
he had sworn that, if I attempted to escape, their lives should 
pay for it. I had too many opportunities of witnessing the 
barbarity of his nature to doubt his fulfilling his oath to the 
very letter. Sad experience had convinced me of the horrors 
of my situation. My first lover had carefully concealed theui 
from me ; Baptiste rather rejoiced in opening my eyes to the 



118 EOSAKIO ; OR, 

cruelties of his profession, and strove to familiarize me with 
blood and slaughter. 

" My nature was licentious and warir., but not cruel ; my 
conduct had been imprudent, but my heart was not un- 
principled. Judge, then, wliat I must have felt at being a, 
continual witness of crimes the most horrible and revolting ! 
Judge how I must have grieved at being united to a man who 
received tlie unsuspecting guest with an air of openness and 
hospitality, at the very moment that he meditated his destruc- 
tion ! Chagrin and discontent preyed upon my constitution ; 
the few cliarras bestowed on me by nature withered away, and 
the dejection of my countenance denoted the sufferings of 
my heart. I was tempted a thousand times to put an end 
to my existence ; but the remembrance of my children held 
my hand. I trembled to leave my dear boys in my tyrant's 
power, and trembled yet more for their virtue than their lives. 
The second was still too young to benefit by my instructions ; 
but in the heart of my eldest I labored unceasingly to plant 
those principles Which might enable him to avoid the crimes of 
his parents. He listened to me with docility, or rather with 
eagerness. Even at his early age, he showed that he was 
not calculated for the society of villains ; and the only com- 
fort wticli I enjoyed among my sorrows, was to witness the 
dawning virtues of )ny Theodore. 

" Such was my situation when the perfidy of Don Alphonso's 
postillion conducted him to the cottage. His youth, air, and 
manners interested me most forcibly in his behalf. The 
absence of my husband's sons gave me an opportunity which 
I had long wislied to find, and I resolved to risk everything 
to preserve the stranger. 

" The vigilance of Baptiste prevented me from warning 
Don Alphonso of his danger. I kn<>w tliat my betraying tlie 
secret would be immediately punished witli death ; and liow- 
ever embittered was my life by calamities, I wanted courage 
to saca-ifice it for the sake of preserving that of another person. 



THE FEMALE MONK 119 

My only hope rested upon procuiiug succor from Strasbourg. 
At this I resolved to try ; and should an opportunity offer for 
warning Don Alphonsoof his danger unobserved, I was de- 
termined to seize it with avidity. By Baptiste's orders I went 
upstairs to make the stranger's bed ; I spread upon it sheets 
in which a traveller had been murdered but a few nights 
before, and which still were stained with blood. ' I hoped 
that these marks would not escape the vigilance of our guest, 
and that he would collect from them the designs of my per- 
fidious husband. Neither was this the only step which I took 
to preserve the stranger. Theodore was confined to his bed 
by illness. I stole into his room unobserved by my tyrant, 
communicated to him my project, and he entered into it with 
eagerness. He rose in spite of his jnalady, and dressed him- 
self with all speed. I fastened one of the sheets round his 
arms, and lowered him from the window. He flew to the 
stable, took Claude's horse, and hastened to Strasbourg. Had 
he been accosted by the banditti, he was to have declared 
himself sent upon a message by Baptiste, .but fortunately he 
reached the town without meeting any obstacle. Immediately 
upon his arrival at Strasbourg, he entreated assistance from 
tlie magistrate ; his story passed from moutli to moutli, and at 
length came to the knowledge of my lord the baron . Anxious 
for the safety of his lad}', who he knew would be upon the 
road that evening, it struck him that she might have fallen 
into the power of the robbers. He accompanied Tlieodore, 
who guided the soldiers towards the cottage, and arrived just 
in time to save us from falling once more into the hands of 
our enemies. 

Here I interrupted Marguerite to inquire 'why the sleepy 
potion had been presented to me. She said tliat Baptiste suji- 
posed me to have arms about me, and wished to incapacitate 
me from making resistance : it was a precaution ^^•llich he al- 
ways tooli, since, as the travellers had no hopes of escaping, 
despair would have incited them to sell their lives dearly. 



120 ROSARIO ; OR, 

The baron then desired Marguerite to inform him what were 
her present plans. I joined him in declaring my readiness to 
show my gratitude to her for the preservation of my life. 

"Disgusted with a world," she replied, in which I have 
met with nothing but misfortunes, my only wish is to retire 
into a convent. But first I must provide for my ciiildren. I 
find that my mother is no more — probably driven to an un» 
timely grave by my desertion . My father is still living. He 
is not a hard man. Perhaps, gentlemen, in spite of my in- 
gratitude and imprudence, your intercessions may induce him 
to forgive me, and take cliarge of his unfortunate grandsons. 
If you obtain this boon for me, you will repay my services a 
thousand- fold." 

Both the baron and myself assured Marguerite that we 
would spare no pains to obtain her pardon ; and that, even 
should her father be inflexible, she need be under no appre- 
hensions respectiug the fate of her children. I engaged myself 
to provide for Theodore, and the baron promised to take the 
youngest undel' his.protection. The grateful mother thanked 
us witli tears for what she called generosity, but which, in 
fact, was no more than a proper sense of our obligations to 
her. She then left the room to put her little boy to bed, whom 
fatigue p.nd sleep had completely overpowered. 

The baroness, on recovering, and being informed from what 
dangers I Jiad rescued her, set no bounds to the expressions 
of her gratitude. She was joined so warmlj' by her husband 
in pressing me to accompany them to their castle in Bavaria, 
that I found it impossible to resist tlieir entreaties. During 
a week which we passed at Strasbourg, tiie interests of Mar- 
guerite were not forgotten. In our iipplication to her father 
we succeeded as amply as we could wish. The good old man 
had lost his wife. He had no ciiildren but his unfortunate 
daughter, of whom he liad received no news for almost fourteen 
years. He was surrounded by distant relations, wlio waited 
with impatience for his decease, in order to get possession 



THE FEMALE MONK 121 

of his money. When, therefore, Marguerite appeared again 
so unexpectedly, he considered her as a gift from Heaven. 
He received her and her children with open arms, and insisted 
upon their establishing themselves in his house without delay. 
The disappointed cousins were obliged to give place. The 
old man would not hear of his daughter's retiring into a con- 
vent. He said that she was too necessary to his happiness, 
and she was easily persuaded to relinquish her designs. But 
no persuasions could induce Theodore to give up the plan 
which I had at first marked out for hiui. He had attached 
himself to me most sincerely during my stay at Strasbourg ; 
and when I was on the point of leaving it, he besought me 
with tears to take him into my service. He set forth all his 
little talents in the most favorable colors, and cried to convince 
me that I should find him of infinite use to me upon the road. 
I was unwilling to charge myself with a lad scarcely turned 
of thirteen, who I knew could only be a burthen to me ; how- 
ever, I could not resist the entreaties of this affectionate 
youth, who, in fact, possessed a thousand estimable qualities. 
With some difficulty he persuaded his relations to let him 
follow me ; and that permission once obtained, lie was dubbed 
with the title of my page. Having passed a week at Stras- 
bourg, Theodore and myself set out for Bavaria, in company 
with the baron and his lady. These latter, as well as myself, 
had forced Marguerite to accept several presents of value, 
both for herself and her youngest son. On leaving her, I 
promised his mother faithfully that I would restore Tlieodore 
to her within the year. 

I have related this adventure at length, Lorenzo, that you 
might understand the means by which "the adventurer 
Alpiionso d'Alvarada got introduced into the castle of Lin- 
denberg." Judge from tiiis specimen, how much faith should 
be given to your aunt's assertions. 




CONTTWUATION OF THE HISTORY OF DON KAYMOND. 

My journey was uncommonly agreeable : I found the baron 
a man of some sense, but little knowledge of the world. He 
had piisst'd a great part of his life without stirring beyond 
the precincts of his own domains, and consequently his man- 
ners WL'rc far from being the most polished ; but he was hearty, 
good-liumorcd, and friendly. His attention to me was all that 
I could wish, and I liave every reason to be satisfied with liis 
behavior. His ruling passion was hunting, which he had 
brought himself to consider as a serious occupation ; and, when 
talking over son}e remarkable chase, he treated the subject 
with as much gravity a,s it had been a battle on which the fate 
of two kingdoms was depending. I happened to be a toler- 
alile sportsman : soon after my arrival at Lindenberg, I gave 
some proofs of my dexterity. The baron immediately marked 
me down for a man of genius, and vowed to m& an eternal 
friendship. 

That friendship was become to me by no means indifferent. 
At tlie castle of Lindenberg, T belield for tlie first time your 
sister, the lovely Agnes. For me wliose heart was unoccupied, 
and Avlio grieved at the void, to see lier and to love her were 
the same. I found in Agnes all that was requisite to secure 



THE FEMAI.K MONK 123 

my affection. She was then scarcely sixteen, lier person, light 
and elegant, was already formed ; she possessed several talents 
in perfection, particnlarly those of nnisic and drawing : hei" 
character was gay, open, and good-humored ; and the graceful 
simplicity of lier dross and manners formed an advantageous 
contrast to tlie art and studied coquetry of the Parisian dames, 
whom 1 had just quitted. From the moment that I beheld 
her, 1 felt the most lively interest in her fate. 1 made many 
inquiries respecting her of the baroness. 

" She is my niece," replied that lady ; " you are still igno- 
rant, Don Alphonso, that I am your country-woman. I am 
sister to the Duke of Medina Celi. Agnes is the daughter of 
my second brother, Don Gaston ; she has been destined to the 
convent from her cradle, and will soon make her profession at 
Madrid." 

[Here Lorenzo interrupted the marquis by an exclamation 
of surprise. 

"Intended for the convent from her cradle!" said he. 
"By heaven, this is the first word that I ever heard of such 
a design ! " 

" I believe it, my dear Lorenzo," answered Don Raymond ; 
" but you must listen to me with patience. You will not be 
less surprised, when I relate some particulars of your family 
still unknown to you, and which I have learnt from the mouth 
of Agues herself." 

He then resumed his narrative as follows : — ] 

"You cannot but be aware tliatyour parents were unfortu- 
nately slaves to the grossest superstition ; when this foible was 
called into play, their every otiier sentiment, their every other 
passion, yielded to its irresistible sti-ength. While she was 
big with Agnes, your mother was seized by a dangerous ill- 
ness, and, given over by her physicians. In this situation 
Donna Inefilla vowed, that if she recovered from her malady, 
the child then living in her bosom, if a girl, slionld be dedi- 
cated to St. Clare ; if a boy, to St. Benedict. Her prayers 



124 EosARio ; OR, 

were heard ; she got rid of her complaint ; Agnes entered the 
world alive, and was immediately destined to the sei-vice of 
St. Clare. 

Don Gaston readily chimed in with his lady's wishes ; but 
knowing the sentiments of the duke, his brother, respecting a 
monastic life, it was determined that your sister's destination 
should be carefully concealed from him. The better to guard 
the secret, it was resolved that Agnes should accompany her 
aunt. Donna Eodolpha, into Germany, whither that lady was 
on the point of following her new-married husband. Baron 
Lindenberg. On her arrival at that estate, tlie young Agnes 
was put into a convent, situated but a few miles from the 
castle. The nuns to whom her education was confided per- 
formed their charge with exactitude ; they made her a perfect 
mistress of many accomplishments, and strove to infuse into 
her mind a taste for the retirement and tranquil pleasures of 
a convent. But a secret instinct made the young recluse seu- 
slble that she was not bom for solitude ; in all the freedom of 
youth and gaiety, she scrupled not to treat as ridiculous nuiny 
ceremonies which the nuns regarded with awe ; and she was 
never more happy than when her lively imagination inspired 
her with some scheme to plague the stiff lady abbess, or the 
ugly, ill-tempered old porteress. She looked with disgust 
upon tlie prospect before her ; however, no alternative was 
offered to her, and she submitted to the decree of her parents, 
though not without secret repining. 

That repugnance she had not art enough to conceal long ; 
Don Gaston was informed of it. Alarmed, Lorenzo, lest your 
affection for her should oppose itself to its projects, and lest 
you should positively object to your sister's misery, he re- 
solved to keep the whole affair from your knowledge, as well 
as the duke's, till the sacrifice should be consummated. The 
season of her taking the veil was fixed for tlie time when you 
should be upon your travels ; in the meanwhile, no hint was 
dropped of Donna InefiUa's fatal vow. Your sister was nevBi 



THE FEMALE MONK 125 

permitted to know your direction. All your letters were read 
before she received tliein, siud those parts effaced which were 
likely to nourish her inclination for the world ; her answeis 
were dictated either by her aunt, or by Dame Cunegonda, her 
governess. These particulars I learned partly from Agnes, 
partly from the baroness herself. 

I immediately determined upon rescuing this lovely girl 
from a fate so contrary to her inclinations, and ill-suited to her 
merit. I endeavored to ingratiate myself into her favor ; I 
boasted of my friendship and intimacy witli you. She listened 
to me with avidity ; she seemed to devour my words while I 
spoke in your praise, and her eyes thanked me for my affection 
to her brother. My constant and unremitted attention at 
length gained me her heart, and with difficulty I obliged her 
to confess tluit she loved me. A¥hen, however, I proposed her 
quitting the castle of Lindenberg, she rejected the idea in 
positive terms. 

" Be generous, Alplionso," she said ; you possess my heart, 
but use not the gift ignobly. Employ not your ascendancy 
over me in persuading me to take a step at which I should 
hereafter liave to blush. I am young and deserted ; my 
brother, my only friend, is separated from me, and my other 
relations act with me as my enemies. Take pity on my un- 
protected situation. Instead of seducing me to an action 
which would cover me with shame, strive rather to gain the 
affections of those who govern me. The baron esteems 3'ou. 
My aunt, to others ever harsh, proud, and contemptuous, re- 
members that you rescued her from the hands of murderers, 
and wears with j'ou alone the appearance of kindness and 
benignity. Try then your influence over my guardians. If 
they consent to our union, my hand is yours. From your 
account of my brother, I cannot doubt your obtaining his 
approbation ; and when they find the impossibility of executing 
their design, I trust that my parents will excuse my dis- 



126 EosARio ; OR, 

obeclieuce, and expiate by some other sacrifice my mother's 
fatal vow." 

From the first moment that I beheld Agnes, I had en- 
deavored to conciliate tiie favor of her relations. Authorized 
by the confession of licr regard, I redoubled my exertions. 
My principal battery was directed against the baroness ; it was 
easy to discover that her word was law in the castle ; her 
husband paid her the most absolute submission, and con- 
sidered her as a superior being. Slie was about forty ; in her 
youth she had been a beauty ; but her charms had been upon 
tliat large scale which can but ill sustain tiie shock of years ; 
however, she still possessed some remains of them. Her 
understanding was strong and excellent when not obscured 
by prejudice, which, unluckily, was seldom the case. Her 
passions were violent ; she spared no pains to gratify them, 
and pursued with unreuiitting vengeance those who opposed 
themselves to her wishes. The warmest of friends, the most 
inveterate of eneuiies, such was the Baroness Lindenberg. 

I labored incessantly to please her ; unluckily I succeeded 
but too well. She seemed gratified by my attention, and 
treated me with a distinction accorded hy her to no one else. 
One of my daily occupations was reading to her for several 
hours ; tliose hours I should much ratiior have passed with 
Agnes ; but as 1 was conscious that complaisance for her aunt 
■/Tould advance our union, I submitted with a good grace to the 
penance imposed upon me. Donna Rodolpha's library was 
principally composed of old Spanish romances ; these were her 
favorite studies, and once a day one of these unmerciful vol- 
umes was put regularly into my hands. I read the wearisome 
adventures of Perceforest, Tirante the White, Falmerin of 
England, and The Knight of the Sun , t\\\ tlie book was on the 
))oint of falling from my liands through ennui. However, 
the increasing pleasure which the baroness seemed to take in 
my society encouraged me to persevere ; and latterly she 
showed for me a partiality so marked, that Agnes advised me 



THE FEMALE MONK 127 

to seize the first opportunitj- of declaring our mutual passion 
to lier aunt. 

One evening I was alone -with Donna Rotlolpha in her own 
apai'tment. As our readings generally treated of love, 
Agnes was never permitted to assist at them. I was just 
congratulating myself on having finished The Loves of Tris- 
tan and the Queen Iseiilt. 

"Ah! the unfortunates!" cried the baroness. "How- 
say you, seiior ? Do you think it possible for man to feel 
au attachment so disinterested and sincere ? " 

" I cannot doubt it," replied I ; " my own heart furnishes 
me with the certainty. Ah I Donna Eodolpha, might I but 
hope for your approbation of my love ! might I but confess 
the name of my mistress, without incurring your resent- 
ment ! " 

She interrupted me. 

" Suppose I were to spare you that confession? Suppose 
I were to acknowledge that the object of your desires is not 
unknown to me ? Suppose I were to say that she returns 
your affection, and laments not less sincerely than yourself 
the unhappy vows which separate her from you ? " 

" Ah ! Donna Rodolpha ! " I exclaimed, throwing myself 
upon my knees before her, and pressing her hand to my lips, 
" you have discovered my secret ! What is your decision? 
Must T despair, or may I reckon upon your favor?" 

She withdrew not the hand which I held ; but she turned 
from me, and covered her face with the other. 

"How can I refuse it j'on?"she replied. "Ah! Don 
Alphonso, I have long perceived to whom your attentions 
were directed, but till now I perceived not the impression 
which they made upon my heart. At length, I can no longer 
hide my weakness either from myself or from you. I yield 
to the violence of my passion, and own that I adore you 1 
For three long months I stifled my desires ; but growing 
stronger by resistance, I submit to their impetuosity. Pride, 



128 ROSARIO ; OR, 

fear, and honor, respect for myself, and my engagements to 
the baron, all are vanquished. I sacrifice them to my love 
for you, and it still seems to me that I pay too mean a price 
for your possession." 

She paused for an answer. Judge, my Lorenzo, what 
must have been my confusion at this discovery. I at once 
saw all the magnitude of this obstacle, which I had myself 
raised to my happiness. The baroness had placed those at- 
tentions to lier own account, which I had merely paid her 
for the sake of Agnes ; and the strength of her expressions, 
the looks which accompanied them, and my knowledge of 
her revengeful dispositions, made me tremble for myself and 
my beloved. I was silent for some minutes. I knew not 
how to reply to her declaration ; I could only resolve to clear 
up the mistake without delay, and for the present.to conceal 
from her knowledge the name of my mistress. No sooner 
had she avowed her passion, than the transports which be- 
fore were evident in my features gave place to consternation 
and constraint. I dropped her hand, and rose from my 
knees. The change in my countenance did not escape her 
observation. 

"What means this silence?" said she, in a trembling 
voice. " Where is that joy which you led me to expect? " 

" Forgive me, senora," I answered, " if what necessity 
forces from me should seem harsh and ungrateful. To en- 
courage you in an error which, however it may flatter my- 
self, must prove to you the source of disappointment, would 
make me appear criminal in every eye. Honor obliges me_ 
to inform you that you have mistaken for the solicitude of 
love what was only tiie attention of friendship. The latter 
sentiment is that which I wished to excite in your bosom ; to 
entertain a warmer respect for you forbids me, and gratitude 
for the baron's generous treatment. Perhaps these reasons 
would not be sufficient to shield me from your attractions, 
were it not that my affections are already bestowed upon 



THE FEMALE MONK 129 

another. You have charms, senora, which might captivate 
the most insensible ; no heart unoccupied could resist them. 
Happy is it for me that mine is no longer in my possession, 
or I should have to reproach myself for ever with having 
violated the laws of hospitality. Recollect yourself, noble 
lady ! recollect what is owed by you to honor, by me to the 
baron, and replace by esteem and friendship those senti- 
ments which I never can return." 

The baroness turned pale at this unexpected and positive 
declaration : she doubted whether she slept or woke. At 
length recovering from her surprise, consternation gave place 
to rage, and the blood rushed back into her cheeks with 
violence. 

"Villain!" she cried ; " monster of deceit! Thus is the 
avowal of my love received ! Is it thus that . . . but, no, 
no ! it cannot, it shall not be ! Alphonso, behold me at your 
feet ! Be witness of my despair ! Look with pity on a 
woman who loves you with sincere affection ! She who pos- 
sesses your heart, how has she merited such a treasure? 
AVhat sacrifice has she made to you? "What raises her above 
Rodolpha?" 

I endeavored to lift her from her knees. 

"For God's sake, seiiora, restrain these transports; they 
disgrace yourself and me. Your exclamations may be heard, 
and your secret divulged to your attendants. I see that my 
presence only irritates you ; permit me to retire." 

I prepared to quit the apartment ; the baroness caught me 
suddenly by the arm. 

"And who is this happy rival?" said she, in a menacing 
tone ; " I will know her name, and when I know it . . . ! 
She is some one in my power ; you entreated my favor, my 
protection ! Let me but find her, let me but know who dares 
to rob me of your heart, and she shall suffer every torment 
which jealousy and disappointment can inflict. Who is she ? 
Answer me this moment ! Hope not to conceal her from my 

EOSABIO 9 



130 ROSARIO ; OR, 

vengeance ! Spies shall be set over you ; every step, every 
look shall be watched ; your eyes will discover my rival ; I 
shall know her : and when she is found, tremble, Alplionso, 
for her and for yourself." 

As slie uttered tliese last words, her fury mounted to such 
a pitch as to stop her powers of respiration. She panted, 
groaned, and at length fainted away. As she was falling I 
caught her in my arms, and placed her upon a sofa. Then 
hastening to the door, I summoned her women to her assist- 
ance ; I committed her to their care, and seized the oppor- 
tunity of escaping. 

Agitated and confused beyond expression, I bent my 
steps towards the garden. The benignity with which the 
baroness had listened to nie at first, raised my hopes to the 
liighest pitch ; I imagined her to have perceived my attach- 
ment for her niece, and to approve of it. Extreme was my 
disappointment at understanding the true purport of her dis- 
course. I knew not what course to take ; the superstition 
of the parents of Agnes, aided by her aunt's unfortunate 
passion, seemed to oppose such obstacles to our union as 
were almost insurmountable. 

As I passed by a low parlor, whose windows looked into 
the garden, through the door, which stood half open, I ob- 
served Agnes seated at a table. She was occupied in draw- 
ing, and several unfinished sketches were scattered round 
her. I entered, still undetermined whether I should acquaint 
her with the declaration of the baroness. 

" Oh ! is it only you ? " said she, raising her head. "You 
are no stranger, and I shall continue my occupation without 
ceremony. Take a chair and seat yourself by me." 

I obeyed, and placed myself near the table. Unconscious 
What I was doing, and totally occupied by the scene which 
had just passed, I took up some of the drawings, and cast 
my eyes over them. One of the subjects struck nic from 
its singularity. It represented the great hall of the castle 



THE FEMALE MONK 131 

of Liudenberg. A door conductiug to a narrow staircase 
stood half open. In the foreground appeared a group of 
figures, placed in the most grotesque attitudes ; terror was 
expressed upon every countenance. Here was one upon his 
knees, with his eyes cast up to heaven, and praying most 
devoutly ; there, another was creeping away upon all fours. 
Some hid their faces in their cloaks, or the laps of their 
companions ; some had concealed themselves beneath a table, 
on" which the remnants of a feast were visible ; while others, 
with gaping mouths and eyes wide-stretched, pointed to a 
figure supposed to have created this disturbance. It repre- 
sented a female of more than human stature, clothed in the 
habit of some religious order. Her face was veiled ; on her 
arm hung a chaplet of beads ; her dress was in several places 
stained with the blood which trickled from a wound upon her ' 
bosom. In one hand she held a lamp, in the other a large 
knife, and she seemed advancing towards the iron gates of 
the hall. 

".What does this mean, Agnes? " said I. " Is this some 
invention of your own ? " 

She cast her eyes upon the drawing. 

"Oh! no," she replied; "'tis the invention of much 
wiser heads than mine. But can you possibly have lived at 
Lindenberg for three whole months without hearing of the 
bleeding nun ? " 

"You are the first who ever mentioned the name to me. 
Pray, who may the lady be ? " 

"That is more than I can pretend to tell you. All my 
knowledge of her history comes from an old tradition in this 
family, which has been handed down from father to sou, and 
is firmly credited throughout the baron's domains. Nay, the 
baron believes it himself ; and as for my aunt, who has a 
natural turn for the marvellous, she would sooner doubt tbe 
veracity of the Bible than of the bleeding nun. Shall I tell 
you this history?" 



132 ROSARIO ; OK, 

I answered that slie wonUl oblige me much l>y relating it; 
she resumed her drawing, and then proceeded as follows in 
a tone of bnrlesqued gravity : — 

" It is surpri^-ing that, in all the chronicles of past times, 
this remarkable personage is never once mentioned. Fain 
would I recount to you her life ; but nuluckily till after her 
death she was never known to have existed. Then first did 
she think it necessary to make some noise in the world, and 
with that intention she made bold to seize upon the castle of 
Lindenberg. Having a good taste, she took up her abode 
iu the best room of the house ; and once established there, 
she began to amuse herself by knocking about the tables 
and chairs in the middle of the night. Perhaps she was a 
bad sleeper, but this I have never been able to ascertain. 
According to the tradition, this entertainment commenced 
about a century ago. It was accompanied with shrieking, 
howling, groaning, swearing, and many other agreeable 
noises of the same kind. But though one particular room 
was more especially honored with her visits, she did not en- 
tirely confine herself to it. She occasionally ventured into 
the old galleries, paced up and down the spacious halls ; or, 
sometimes stopping at the doors of thc-chambers, she wept 
and wailed there to the universal terror of the iniiabitants. 
In these nocturnal excursions she was seen by different 
people, who all describe her appearance as you behold it 
here traced by tiie hand of her unworthy historian." 

The singularity of this accouni insensibly engaged my at- 
tention. 

" Did she never speak to those wlio met her?" sai-tl I. 

" Not she. The specimens indeed wliicii she gave nightly 
of her talents for conversation were by no means inviting. 
Sometimes the castle rung with oaths and execrntions ; a 
moment after she repeated lier paternoster ; now she howled 
out the most horrible blasphemies, and then chanted de iwo- 
fundis as orderly as if still in the choir. In short, she 



THE FEMALE MONK 133 

seemed a mighty capricious being ; but whether she prayed 
Of cursed, wliether she was impious or devout, she always 
contrived to terrify her auditors out of their senses. Tlie 
castle became scarcely habitable, and its lord was "so fright- 
ened by these midnight revels, that one fine morning he was 
found dead in his bed. This success seemed to please the 
nun mightily, for now she made more noise than ever. But 
the next baron proved too cunning for her. He made his 
appearance with a, celebrated exerciser in his hand, who 
feared not to shut himself up for a night in the haunted 
chamber. There it seems that he had a hard battle with the 
ghost before she would promise to be quiet. She was ob- 
stinate, but he was more so ; and at length she consented to 
let the inhabitants of the castle take a good night's rest. 
For some time after no news was heai'd of her. But at the 
end of five years the exerciser died, and then the nun vent- 
ured to peep abroad again. However, she was now grown 
much more tractable and well-behaved. She walked about 
in silence, and never made her appearance above once in 
Ave years. This custom, if you will believe the baron, she 
still continues. He is fully persuaded that, on the fifth of 
May every fifth year, as soon as the ch ck strikes one, the 
door of the haunted chamber opens. (Observe that this 
room has been shut up for near a century.) Then out walks 
the ghostly nun with her lamp and dagger ; she descends the 
staircase of the eastern tower, and crosses the great hall. 
On that night the porter always leaves the gates of the castle 
open, out of respect to the apparition; not that this is 
thought by any means necessary, since she could easily whip 
through the keyhole if she chose it ; but merely out of polite- 
ness and to prevent her from making her exit in a way so 
derogatory to the dignity of her gliostship." 

"And whither does she go on quitting the castle?" 
" To hea.ven, I hope ; but if she does, the place certainly 
is not to her taste, for she always returns after an hour's 



134 I RosARio ; OR, 

absence. The lady then retires to her chamber, and is quiet 
for another five years." 

" And you believe this, Agnes?" 

" How can you ask such a question? No, no, Alphonso ! 
I have too much reason to lament superstition's influence to 
be its victim myself. However, I must not avow my cre- 
dulity to the baroness ; she entertains not a doubt of the 
truth of this history. As to Dame Cunegonda, my governess, 
she protests that fifteen years ago she saw the spectre with' 
her own eyes. She related to me one evening how she and 
several other domestics had been terrified while at supper by 
the appearance of the bleeding nun, as the ghost is called 
in the castle ; 'tis from her account that I drew this sketch, 
and you may be certain that Cunegonda was not omitted. 
There she is ! I shall never forget what a passion she was in, 
and how ugly she looked while she scolded me for having 
made her picture so like herself ! " 

Here she pointed to a burlesque figure of an old woman in 
an attitude of terror. 

In spite of the melancholy which oppressed me, I could 
not help smiling at the playful imagination of Agnes ; she 
had perfectly preserved Dame Cunegonda's resemblance, 
but had so much exaggerated every fault, and rendered every 
feature so irresistibly laughable, that I could easily con- 
ceive the duenna's anger. 

" The figure is admirable, my dear Agnes ! I knew not 
that you possessed such talents for the ridiculous." 

" Stay a moment," she replied ; " I will show you a figure 
still more ridiculous than Dame Cunegonda's. If it pleases 
you, you may dispose of it as seems best to yonrself." 

She rose, and went to a cabinet at some little distance ; 
unlocking a drawer, she took out a small case, which she 
opened and presented to me. 

" Do you know the resemblance? " said she, smiling. 

It was her own. 



THE FEMALE MONK 135 

Transported at the gift, I pressed the portrait to my lips 
with passion ; I threw myself at her feet, and declared my 
gratitude in the warmest and most affectionate terms. She 
listened to me with complaisance, and assured me that she 
shared my sentiments ; when suddenly she uttered a loud 
shriek, disengaged tlie hand which I held, and flew from the 
room by a door which opened to the garden. Amazed at 
this^abrupt departure, I rose hastily from my knees. I be- 
held with confusion the baroness standing near me glowing 
with jealousy, and almost choked with rage. On recovering 
from her swoon she had tortured her imagination to discover 
her concealed rival. No one appeared to deserve her sus- 
picions more than Agues. She immediately hastened to flncl 
her niece, tax her with encouraging my addresses, and assure 
herself whether lier conjectures were well grounded. Un- 
fortunately she had already seen enough to need no other 
confirmation. She arrived at the door of the room at the 
precise moment wlien Agnes gave me her portrait. She 
heard me profess an everlasting attachment to her rival, and 
saw me kneeling at her feet. She advanced to separate us ; 
we were too much occupied by each other to perceive her ap- 
proach, and were not aware of it till Agnes beheld her standing 
by my side. 

Eage on the part of Donna Kodolpha, embarrassment on 
mine, for some time kept us both silent. The lady recovered 
herself first. 

" My suspicions then were just," said she ; "the coquetry 
of my niece has triumphed, and 'tis to her that I am sacri- 
ficed. In one respect, however, I am fortunate ; I shall not 
be the only one who laments a disappointed passion. You, 
too, shall know what it is to love without hope ! I daily ex- 
pect orders for restoring Agnes to her parents. Immediately 
upon her arrival in Spain she will take the veil, and place an 
insuperable barrier to your union. You may spare your sup- 
plications." She continued perceiving me on the point of 



136 KOSAKio ; OR, 

speaking. " My resolution is fixed and immovable. Your 
mistress shall remain a close prisoner in her chamber, till 
she exchanges this castle for the cloister. Solitude will per- 
haps recall her to a sense of her dutj' ; but to prevent your 
opposing that wished event, I must inform you, Don Al- 
pbonso, that your presence here is no longer agreeable either 
to the baron or myself. It was not to talk nonsense to my 
niece that your relations sent you to Germany ; your busi- 
ness was to travel, and I should be sorry any longer to im-. 
pede so excellent a design. I'arewell, senor ; remember that 
to-morrow morning we meet for the last time." 

Having said this, she darted upon me a look of pride, 
contempt, and malice, and quitted the apartment. I also 
retired to mine, and consumed the night in planning the 
means of rescuing Agnes from the power of her tyrannical 
aunt. 

After the positive declaration of its mistress,, it was im- 
possible for me to make a longer stay at.tlie castle of Lin= 
denberg. Accordingly, I the next day announced my im- 
mediate departure. The baron declared that it gave him 
sincere pain ; and he expressed himself in my favor so 
warmly, that I endeavored to win him over to my interest. 
Scarcely had I mentioned the name of Agnes, when he 
stopped me short, and said, that it was totally out of his 
power to interfere in the business. I saw that it was in vain 
to argue ; the baroness governed her husband with despotic 
sway, and I easily perceived that she had prejudiced him 
against the match. Agnes did not appear. I entreated per- 
mission to take leave of her, but my prayer was rejected. I 
was obliged to depart without seeing her. 

At quitting him, the baron shook my hand affectionately, 
and assured me that, as soon as his niece was gone, I might 
consider his liouse as my own. 

"Farewell, Don Alphonso ! " said the baroness, and 
Stretched out her hand to me. 



THE FEMALE MONK 137 

I took it, and ofifered to carry it to my lips. She prevented 
me. Her husband was at the other end of the room, and 
out of liearing. 

" Take care of yourself," she continued ; " my love is be- 
come hatred, and my wounded pride shall not be unatoned. 
Go where you will, my vengeance shall follow you ! " 

She accompanied these words with a look suflScient to 
make me tremble. I answered not, but hastened to quit the 
castle. 

As my chaise drove out of the court, I looked up to the 
windows of your sister's chamber ; nobody was to be seen 
there. I threw myself back despondent in my carriage. I 
was attended by no dther servants than a Frenchman, whom 
I had hired at Strasbourg in Stephano'e room, and my little 
page whom I before mentioned to [you. The fidelity, in- 
telligence, and good temper of Theodore had already made 
him dear to me ; but he dow prepared to lay an obligation 
on me, which made me look upon him as a guardian genius. 
Scarcely had we proceeded half a mile from the castle, when 
he rode up to the chaise door. 

"Take courage, senor ! " said lie in Spanish, which he 
had already learnt to speak with fluency and correctness. 
" While you were with the baron, I watched the moment 
when Dame Cunegonda was below stairs, and mounted into 
the chamber over that of Donna Agnes. I sang, as loud as 
I could, a little German air, well known to her, hoping that 
she would recollect my voice. I was not disappointed, for 
I soon heard her window open. I hastened to let down a 
string with which I had provided myself. Upon hearing the 
casement closed again, I drew up the string, and fastened 
to it I found this sci'ap of paper." 

He then presented me with a small note addressed to me. 
I opened it with impatience. It contained the following 
words, written in pencil : — 



138 ROSABio ; OR, 

"Conceal yourself for the next fortnight in some neigh- 
boring village. My aunt will believe you have quitted Lin- 
denberg, and I shall be restored to liberty. I will be in the 
west pavilion at twelve on the night of the thirtieth. Fail 
not to be there, and we shall have an opportunity of con- 
certing our future plans. Adieu. Agnes." 

At perusing these lines, my transports exceeded all bounds ; 
neither did I set any to the expressions of gratitude which 
I heaped upon Theodore. In fact, his address and attention 
merited my warmest praise. You will readily believe that 
I had not entrusted him with my passion for Agnes ; but the 
arch youth had too much discernment not to discover my 
secret, and too much discretion not to conceal his knowledge 
of it. He observed in silence what was going on, nor strove 
to make himself an agent in the business till my interests 
required his interference. I equally admired his judgment, 
his penetration, his address, and his fidelity. This was not 
the first occasion in which I had found him of infinite use, 
and I was every day more convinced of his quickness and 
capacity. During my short stay at Strasbourg, he had ap- 
plied himself diligently to learning the rudiments of Spanish. 
He continued to study it, and with so much success, that he 
spoke it with the same facility as his native language. He 
passed the greatest part of his time in reading. He had ac- 
quii-ed much information for his age ; and united the ad- 
vantages of a lively countenance and prepossessing figure to 
an excellent understanding, and the very best of hearts. 
H« is now fifteen. He is still in n)y service ; and when you 
see him, I am sure that he will please you. B/it excuse this 
digression ; I return to the subject which I quitted. 

I obeyed the instructions of Agnes. I proceeded to 
Munich ; there I left my chaise under the care of Lucas, my 
French servant, and then retiu-ned on horseback to a small 
village about four miles distant from the castle of Linden- 
berg, Upon arriving there, a story was related to the host 



THE FEMALE MONK 139 

at whose inn I alighted, which prevented his wondering at 
my maliing so long a stay in his house. The old man, for- 
tunately, was credulous and incurious ; he believed all I 
said, and souglit to liuow no more than what I thought 
proper to tell him. Nobody was with me but Theodore: 
both were disguised ; and as we kept ourselves close, we 
were not suspected to be other tlian what we seemed. In 
this manner the fortnight passed away. During thtit time T 
had the pleasing conviction that Agnes was once moi'e at 
liberty. Slie passed througli tlie village with Dame Cune- 
gonda ; she seemed in good health and spirits, and talked to 
her companion without any appearance of constraint. 

"Who are tliose ladies?" said I to my host, as the car- 
riage passed. 

" Baron Lindenberg's niece, with her governess," he re- 
plied ; " she goes regularly every Friday to the convent of 
St. Catharine, in which she was brought up, and which is 
situated about a mile from hence." 

You may be certain that I waited with impatience for the 
ensuing Friday. I again beheld my lovely mistress. She 
cast her eyes upon me as she passed the inn door. A blush 
which overspread her cheek told me that, in spite of my dis- 
guise, I had been recognized. I bowed profoundly. She 
returned the compliment bj' a slight inclination of the head, 
as if made to one inferior, and looked another way till the 
carriage was out of siglit. 

The long expected, long wished-for night arrived. It was 
calm, and the moon was at the full. As soon as the clock 
struck eleven I hastened to my appointment, determined not 
to be too late. Theodore had provided a ladder ; I ascended 
the garden wall without difficulty. The page followed me, 
and drew the ladder after us. I posted myself in the west 
[lavilion, and waited impatiently for the approach of Agnes. 
Every breeze tliat whispered, every leaf that fell, I believed 
to be her footstep, and hastened to meet her. Thus was I 



140 ROSA.RIO ; OR, 

obliged to pass a full hour, every minute of which appeared 
to me an age. The castle bell at length tolled twelve, and 
scarcely could I believe the night to be farther advanced. 
Another quarter of an hour elapsed, and I heard the light 
foot of my mistress approaching the pavilion with precaution. 
I flew to receive her, and conducted her to a seat. I threw 
myself £rt her feet, and was expressing n)y joy at seeing her, 
when she thus interrupted me, — 

" We have no time to lose, Alphonso : the moments are 
precious ; for, though no more a prisoner, Cunegonda watches 
my every step. An express is arrived from my father ; I 
must depart immediately for Madrid, and 'tis with difficulty 
that I liave obtained a weeic's delay: The superstition of 
my parents, supported by the representations of my cruel 
aunt, leaves me no hope of softening them to compassion. 
In this dilemma, I have resolved to commit myself to your 
honor. God grant that you may never give me cause to re- 
pent my resolution ! Flight is my only resource from the 
horrors of a convent ; and my imprudence must be excused 
by the urgency of the danger. Now listen to the plan by 
wliich I hope to effect my escape. 

" We are now at the thirtietli of April. On the fifth day 
from this the visionary nun is expected to appear In my 
last visit to the convent I provided myself with a dress 
proper for the character. A friend whom I have left there, 
and to whom I made no scruple to confide my secret, readily 
consented to supply me with a religious habit. Provide a 
carriage, and be witli it at a little distance from the great 
gate of the castle. As soon as the clock strikes ' one,' I 
shall quit my chamber, dressed in the same apparel as the 
ghost is supposed to wear. Whoever meets me will be too 
much terrified to oppose my escape : I shall easily reach the 
door, and throw myself under your protection. Thus far 
success is certain : but, oh ! Alphonso, sliould you deceive 
me ! should you despise my imprudence, and rewsii-d it witU 



THE FEMALE MONK 141 

Ingratitude, the world will not hold a being more wretched 
thun myself ! I feel all the dangers to which I shall he ex- 
posed. I feel that I am giving you a right to treat me with 
levity : but I rely upon your love, upon your honor ! The 
step which I am on the point of taking will incense my 
relations against me. Should you desert me— should you 
betray the trust reposed in you — I shall have no friend to 
punish your insult, or support my cause. On yourself alone 
rests all my hope ; and if your own heart does not plead in 
my behalf, I am undone for ever ! " 

The tone in which she pronounced these words was so 
touching that, in spite of my joy at receiving her promise to 
follow me, I could not help being affected. I also repined 
in secret at not having taken the precaution to provide a 
carriage at the village ; in which case, I might have carried 
off Agnes that very night. Such an attempt was now im- 
practicable ; neither carriage nor horses were to be procured 
nearer than Munich, which was distant from Lindeuberg two 
good days' journey. I was therefore obliged to chime in 
with her plan, which, in truth, seemed well arranged. Her 
disguise would secure her from being stopped in quitting the 
castle, and would enable her to step into the carriage at the 
very gate, without difficulty or losing lime. 

Agnes reclined her head mournfully upon my shoulder, 
and, by the light of the moon, I saw tears flowing down her 
cheek. I strove to dissipate her melancholy, and encouraged 
her to look forward to the prospect of happiness. I pro- 
tested iu the most solemn terms that her virtue and in- 
nocence would be safe in my keeping ; and that, till the 
church had made her my lawful wife, her honor should be 
held by me as sacred as a sister's. I told her that my first 
care should be to find you ont, Lorenzo, and reconcile you 
to our union ; and I was continuing to speak in the same 
strain, when a noise without alarmed me. Suddenly the 
door of the pavilion was thrown open, and Cunegonda stood 



142 EosARio ; OR, 

before us. She had heard Agnes steal out of her chuvaber, 
followed her into the garden, and perceived her entering the 
pavilion. Favored by the trees which sliaded it, and uu- 
perceived by Theodore, who waited at a little distance, she 
had approaclied in silence, and overheard our whole conversa- 
tion. 

"Admirable!" cried Cunegonda, in a voice shrill with 
passion, while Agnes uttered a loud shriek. "By St. Bar- 
bara, young lady, you have an excellent invention ! you 
must personate the bleeding nun, truly? What impiety! 
Wliat incredulitj' ! Marry, I have a good mind to let you 
pursue your plan. When the real ghost met you, I warrant 
you would be in a pretty condition. Don Alphonso, you 
ought to be ashamed of yourself for seducing a young, ig- 
norant creature to leave her family and friends. However, 
for this time, at least, I shall mar your wicked designs. The 
noble lady sliall be informed of the whole affair, and Agnes 
must defer playing the spectre till a better opportunity. 
Farewell, seiior. Donna Agnes, let me have the honor of 
conducting your ghostship back to your apartment.'' 

She approached the sofa on which her trembling pupil was 
seated, took her by the hand, and prepared to lead her from 
the pavilion. 

I detiiined her, and strove by^ntreaties, soothing promises, 
and flattery to win her to my party ; but, finding all that I 
could say of no avail, I abandoned the vain attempt. 

"Your obstinacy must be its own punishment," said I ; 
" but one resource remains to save Agnes and myself, and I 
shall not hesitate to employ it." 

Terrified at tliis menace, she again endeavored to quit the 
pavilion ; but I seized her by the wrist, and detained her 
forcibly. At tlie same moment Tlieodore, who had followed 
her into the room, closed tlie door, and prevented her escape. 
I took the veil of Agnes ; I threw it round the duenna's head, 
who uttered such piercing shrieks that, in spite of our distance 



THE FEMALE MONK 143 

from the castle, I dieaded their being heard. At length I 
succeeded in gcagging lier so completely, that she could not 
jjroduce a single sound. Theodore and myself, with some 
difficulty, next contrived to bind her hands and feet witli our 
handkerchiefs ; and I advised Agnes to regain her chamber 
with all diligence. I promised that no harm should happen 
to Cunegoiula ; bade her remember that, on tlie fifth of May, 
I should be in waiting at the great gate of the castle, and 
took of her an affectionate farewell. Trembling and uneasy, 
she had scarce power enough to signify her consent to my 
plans, and fled back to her apartment in disorder and con- 
fusion. 

In the meanwhile Theodore assisted me in carrying off my 
antiquated prize. She was hoisted over the wall, placed be- 
fore me upon my horse like a portmanteau, and I galloped 
away with lier from the castle of Lindeuberg. The unlucky 
duenna never had made a more disagreeable journey in her 
life. She was jolted and shaken till she was become little 
more than an animated mummy ; not to mention her fright, 
when we waded tlirough a small river, through which it was 
necessary to pass in order to regain the village. Before we 
reached the inn, I had already determined how to dispose of 
the troublesome Cunegonda. We entered the street in which 
the inn stood ; and while the page knocked I waited at a little 
distance. The landlord opened the door, with a lamp in his 
hand. 

" Give me the light," said Theodore ; " my master is com- 
ing." 

He snatched the lamp liastily, and purposely let it fall upon 
tlie ground. The landlord returned to the kitchen to re-light 
^he lamp, leaving the door open. I profited by the obscurity, 
sprang from my horse with Cunegonda in my arms, darted up 
stairs, reached my chamber unperceived, and unlocking the 
door of a spacious closet, stowed her within it, and then turned 
the key. The landlord and Theodore soon after appeared with 



i 144 jtosARio ; OR, 

lights : the former expressed himself surprised at my return- 
ing so late, but asked no impertinent questions. He soon 
qnitted the room, and left me to exult in the success of my 
undertaking. 

I immediately paid a visit to my prisoner. I strove to per- 
suade her submitting -with patience to lier temporary confine- 
ment. My attempt was unsuccessful. Unable to speak or 
move, she expressed her fury by her looks ; and, except at 
meals, I never dared to unbind her, or release her from the 
gag. At such tinjes I stood over her with a drawn sword, and 
protested that, if she uttered a single cry, I would plunge it in 
her bosom. As soon as she had done eating, the gag was 
replaced. I was conscious that this proceeding was cruel, and 
could only be justified bytlie urgency of circumstances. As 
to Theodore, he had no scruples upon the subject. Cune- 
gonda's captivity entertained liim beyond measure. During 
his abode in the castle, a continual warfare had been carried 
on between him and the duenna ; and, now that he found his 
enemy so absolutely in his power, he triumphed without mercy ; 
he seemed to think of notliing but how to find out new means 
of plaguing her. Sometimes he affected to pity her misfortune, 
tlien laughed at, abused, and mimicked her : he played her a 
tliousand triclcs, each more provoking than the other ; and 
amused himself by telling her that her elopemeiit must have 
occasioned much surprise at tlie baron's. Tliis was in fact the 
case. No one, except Agnes, could imagine what was become 
of dame Cunegonda. Every hole and corner was searched for 
her ; the ponds were dragged, and the woods underwent a 
thorough examination. Still no dame Cunegonda made her 
appearance. Agnes kept the secret, and I kept the duenna : 
the baroness, tiierefore, remained in total ignorance respecting 
the old woman's fate, but suspected her to have perished by 
suicide. Thus passed away five days, during which I had 
prepared everything necessary for my enterprise . On qnittmg 
Agnes, I had made it my first business to despatch a peasant 



THE FEMALE MONK 145 

witVi a letter to Lucas, at Muiiieb, ovderiiig him to take care 
that a coach ami four should arrive about ten o'clock on the 
fifth of May at the village of Rosenwakl. He obeyed my 
instructions punctually ; the equipage arrived at the time 
appointed. As the period of her lady's elopement drew nearer, 
Cunegonda's rage increased. I verily believe that spite and 
passion would have killed her, liad I not luckily discovered 
her prepossession in favor of cherry-brandy. With this 
favoiite liquor she was plentifully supplied, and, Theodore 
always remaining to guard her, the gag was occasionally 
removed. The liquor seemed to have a wonderful effect in 
softening the acrimony of her nature ; and her confinement 
not admitting of any other amusement, slie got drunk regularly 
once a day, just by way of passing the time. 

The fifth of May arrived, a period by me never to be for- 
gotten! Before the clock struck twelve, I betook myself to 
the scene of action. Theodore followed me on horseback. I 
concealed the carriage in a spacious cavern of the hill on whose 
brow the castle was situated. This cavern was of considerable 
depth, and, among the peasants, was known by the name of 
Lindenberg Hole. The night was calm and beautiful : the 
moonbeams fell upon the ancient towers of the castle, and shed 
upon their summits a silver light. All was still around me : 
nothing was to be heard except the night-breeze sighing along 
the leaves, the distant barking of village dogs, or the owl who 
had established herself in a nook of the deserted eastern turret. 
I heard her melancholy shriek, and looked upwards : she sat 
upon the ridge of a window which I recognized to be that of 
the haunted room. This brought to my remembrance the story 
of the bleeding nun, and I sighed while I reflected on the 
influence of superstition, and weakness of human reason. 
Suddenly I heard a faint chorus steal upon the silence of the 
night. 

" What can occasion that noise, Theodore?" 

" A stranger of distinction," replied he, " passed through 

EOSAKIO 10 



146 ROSARIO ; OR, 

the village to-day on his waj' to the castle. He is reported 
to be the father of Donna Agnes. Donl)tless the baron lias" 
giveu an entertainment to celebrate his arrival." 

Tiie castle bell announced tlie hour of midnight. This was 
the usual signal for the family to i-i'tire to bed. Soon after I 
perceived lights in the castle, moving backwards and forwards 
in different directions. I conjectured the company to bo 
separating. I could hear the heavy doors grate as they opened 
with difficulty ; and as they closed again, the rotten casements 
rattled in their frames. The cliamber of Agnes was on tlie 
other side of the castle. 1 trembled lest she should have 
failed in obtaining the key of the haunted room. Through 
this it was necessary for her to pass, in order to reach the 
narrow staircase by which the ghost was supposed to descend 
into the great hall. Agitated by this apprehension, I kept 
.ny eyes constantly fixed upon the window, where I hoped to 
perceive the friendly glare of a lamp borne by Agnes. I now 
heard the massy gates unbarred. By the candle in his hand, I 
distinguished old Conrad, the porter. He set the portal doors 
wide open, and retired. The lights in the castle gradually 
disappeared, and at length the whole building was wrapt in 
darkness. 

While I sat upon a broken ridge of the hill, the stillness of 
the scene inspired me with melancholy ideas not altogether 
unplcasing. Tlie castle, which stood full in my sight, formed 
an object equally awful and picturesque. Its ponderous walls, 
tinged by tlie moon with solemn brightness ; its old and partly 
ruined towers, lifting themselves into the clouds, and seeming 
to frown on the plains around them ; its lofty battlements, 
overgrown with ivy ; and folding gates, expanding in honor 
of tlie visionary inhabitant, made me sensible of a sad and 
reverential horror. Yet did not these sensations occupy me 
so fully as to prevent me from witnessing with impatience 
the slow progress of time. I approached the castle, and ven- 
tured to walk round it. A few rays of lioht still glimmered 



THE FKMALU MONK 147 

in the chamber of Agnes. I oliscrved tliem witli joj'. I was 
still gaziiiy: upon tln'iii, when I perceived a figure draw ueur 
the window, and the curtain was carefully closed, to conceal 
the lamp which burned there. Convinced by this observation 
that Agnes had not abandoned our plan, I returned with a 
light heart to my former station. 

The half-hour struck ! The three-quarters struck ! My 
bosom beat high witii hope and expectation. At length the 
wished-for sound was heard. The bell tolled " one," and the 
mansion echoed with the noise, loud and solemn. I looked up 
to the casement of tlie haunted chamber. Scarcely had live 
minutes elapsed when the expected light r.ppeared. I was 
now close to the tower. The window was not so far from the 
ground but that I fancied I perceived a female figure with a 
lamp in her hand moving slowly along the apartment. The 
light soon faded away, and all was again dark and gloom}'. 

Occasional gleams of brightness darted from the staircase 
windows as the lovely ghost passed by them. I traced tlie 
ligiit through the hall ; it reached the portal, and at length I 
beheld Agnes pass through the folding gates. She was 
habited exactly as she had described the spectre. A chaplet 
of beads hung upon her arm ; her head was enveloped in a 
long white veil ; her nun's dress was stained with blood ; 
and she had taken care to provide herself with a lamp and 
dagger. She advanced toward the spot where I stood. I 
flew to meet her, and clasped lier in mj' arms. 

" Agues ! " said I, while I pressed her to my bosom 

"Agnes! Agnee! thou iut mine! 
Agnes! Agnes! I am thine! 
In ray veins while blood shall roll 
Thou art mine! 
I am thine! 
Thine my body! thine my soul ! " 

Terrified and breathless, she was unable to speak. She 
dropped her lamp and dagger, and sunk upon my bosom in 



148 ROSABIO ; OE, 

silence. 1 raised liev in my arms, and conveyed lier to tlie 
carriage. Tlieodore remained behind, in order to release 
Dame Cunegouda. I also charged him with a letter to the 
baroness, explaining the whole affair, and entreating her 
good otflces in reconciling Don Gaston to my union with his 
daughter. I discovered to her my real name. I proved to 
her that my birth and expectations justified my pretending 
to her niece ; and assured her, though it was out of my 
power to return her love, that I would strive unceasingly to 
obtain her esteem and friendship. 

I stepped into the carriage where Agnes was already 
seated. Theodore closed the door, and the postillions drove 
away. At first I was delighted with the rapidity of our pro- 
gress ; but as soon as we were in no danger of pursuit, I 
called to the drivers, and bade them moderate their pace. 
They strove in vain to obey me ; the horses refused to an- 
swer the rein, and continued to rush on with astonishing 
swiftness. The postillions redoubled their efforts to stop 
them ; but, by kicking and plunging, the beasts soon re- 
leased themselves from this restraint. Uttering a loud 
shriek, the drivers were liurled upon the ground. Imme- 
diately thick clouds obscured the sky : the winds howled 
around us, the lightning flashed, and the thunder roared 
tremendously. Never did I behold so frightful a tempest ! 
Terrified by the jar of contending elements, the horses seemed 
every moment to increase their speed. Nothing could inter- 
rupt their career ; they dragged the carriage through hedges 
and ditches, dashed down the most dangerous precipices, 
and seemed to vie in swiftness with the rapidity of the winds. 

All this while my companion lay motionless in my arms. 
Triily alarmed by the magnitude of the danger, I was in vain 
attempting to recall her to her senses, when a loud crash 
announced that a stop was put to our progress in the most 
disagreeable manner. The carriage was shattered to pieces. 
In falling, I struck my temple against a flint. The pain of 



THE FEIVIALE MONK 149 

the -wound, the violence of the shock, and apprehension for 
the safety of Agnes, conihined to overpower me so com- 
pletely, tliat my senses forsook me, and I lay withont anima- 
tion on the ground. 

1 probably remained for some time in this situation, sinee, 
■when I opened my eyes, it was broad dayliglit. Several 
peasants were standing round me, and seemed disputing 
whether my recovery was possible. I spoke German tol- 
erably well. As soon as I could utter an articulate sound, 
I Hiquired after Agnes. What was my surprise and distress, 
when assured by the peasants that nobody had been seen an- 
swering the description wliicli I gave of her ! They told me 
that, in going to their daily labor, they had been alarmed by 
observing the fragments of my carriage, and by hearing the 
groans of a horse, the only one of the four that I'emained 
alive ; the other three lay dead by my side. Nobody was 
near me when they came up, and much time had been lost 
before they succeeded in recovering me. Uneasy beyond 
expression respecting tlie fate of my companion, 1 besought 
the peasants to disperse themselves in seai'ch of her. 1 
described her dress, and promised innuense rewarde to who- 
ever brought me any intelligence. As for myself, it was 
impossible for me to join in the pursuit: 1 had broken two 
of my ribs in the fall ; jny arm being dislocated hung useless 
by my side ; and my left leg was shattered so terribly, that 
I never expected to recover its use. 

The peasants complied with my request ; all left me ex- 
cept four, who made a litter of boughs, and prepared to con- 
vey n^e to the neighboring town. I inquired its name : it 
proved to be Eatisbon, and I could scarcely persuade my- 
self that I had travelled to such a .distauce in a single night. 
I told the countrymen, that at one o'clock that morning 1 
had passed through the village of Eosenwald. They shook 
their heads wistfully, and made signs to each other that J 
must certainly be delirious. I was conveyed to a decent 



150 ROSARIO ; OR, 

inn, and immediately put to bed. A pliysiciau was sent for, 
who set my arm witli success: he then examined my other 
hurts, and told me that I need be under no apprehension of 
the consequences of any of them, but ordered me to keej) 
myself quiet, and be prepared for a tedious and painful 
cure. I answered him, that if he hoped to keep me quiet, 
he must first endeavor to procure me some news of a lady 
who had quitted Rosenwald in my company the night before, 
and had been with rnc at the moment when the coach broke 
down. He smiled, and only replied by advising me to make 
myself easy, for that all proper care should be taken of me. 
As he quitted me, the hostess met him at the door of the 
room. 

" The gentleman is not quite iu his right senses," I heard 
him say to her iu a low voice; "'tis the natural conse- 
quences of his fall ; but that will soon be over." 

One after another the peasants returned to the inn, and 
informed me that no traces had been discovered of my un- 
fortunate mistress. Uneasiness now became despair. I en- 
treated them to renew their search in the most urgent terms, 
doubling the promises which I had already made them. My 
wild and frantic manner confirmed the bystanders in the 
idea of my being delirious. No signs of the lady having 
appeared, they believed her to be a creature fabricated by 
my overheated brain, and paid no attention to my entreaties. 
However, the hostess assured me that a fresh inquiry should 
be made ; but I found afterwards that her promise was only 
given to quiet me. No further steps were taken in the 
business. 

Though my baggage was left at Munich under the care of 
my French servant, having prepared myself for a long jour- 
ney, my purse was amply furnished : besides, my equipage 
proved me to be of distinction, and in consequence, all pos- 
sible attention was paid to me at the inn. The day passed 
away : still no news arrived of Agnes. The anxiety of fear 



THE FEMALE MONK 151 

now gave place to despondency. I ceased to rave about 
her, and was plunged in the depth of melancholy reflections. 
Perceiving me to be silent and tranquil, my attendants be- 
lieved my delirium to have abated, and that my malady had 
taken a favorable turn. According to the pliysician's ordei-, 
[ swallowed a composing medicine : and as soon as the night 
shut in, my attendants withdrew, and left me to repose. 

That repose I wooed in vain. The agitation of my bosom 
chased away sleep. Restless in my mind, in spite of the 
fatigue of my body, 1 continued to toss about from side to 
side, till the clock in a neighboring steeple struck one. As 
I listened to the mournful hollow sound, and heard it die 
<iway in the wind, I felt a sudden chillness spread itself 
over my body. I sluiddered without knowing wlierefore ; 
cold dews poured down my forehead, and my hair stood 
bristling with alarm. Suddenly I lieard slow and heavy 
steps ascending the staircase. By an involuntary movement 
I started up in my bed, and drew back the curtain. A single 
rush-light, which glimmered upon the hearth, shed a faint 
gleam through the apartment, which was hung witli tapestry. 
The door was thrown open with violence. A figure entered, 
'ind drew near my bed with solenm, measured steps. With 
trembling apprehension I examined this midnight visitor. 
God Almighty ! it was the bleeding nun ! It was my lost 
companion ! Her face was still veiled, but she no longer 
held her lamp and dagger. She lifted up her veil slowly. 
What a sight presented itself to my startled eyes ! I beheld 
before me an animated corpse. Her countenance was long 
and haggard ; her cheeks and lips were bloodless ; the pale- 
ness of death was spread over her features ; and her eye- 
balls, fixed steadfastly upon me, were lustreless and hollow. 

I gazed upon the spectre with horror too great to be 
described. My blood was frozen in my veins. I would 
have called for aid, but the sound expired ere it could pass 



152 EOSARIO ; OK, 

my lips. My nerves were bound up in impotence, and I re- 
mained in the same attitude, inanimate as a statue. 

The visionary nun looked upon me for some minutes in 
silence ; there was something petrifying in her regard. At 
length, in a low sepulchral voice, she pronounced the fol- 
lowing words, — 

*' Raymond! Raymond! thou art mine! 
Raymond ! Raymond ] I am thine ! 
In thy veins while blood shall roll, 
I am thine ! 
Thoa art mine ! 
Mine thy body ! mine thy soul ! " 

Breathless with fear, I listened while she repeated my own 
expressions. Tlie apparition seated herself opposite to me 
at the foot of the bed, and was silent. Her eyes were fixed 
earnestly upon mine ; they seemed endowed with the prop- 
erty of the rattle-snakes, for I strove in vain to look off lier. 
My eyes were fascinated, and I had not the power of with- 
drawing them from the spectre's. 

In this attitude she remained for a whole long hour with- 
out speaking or moving ; nor was I able to do cither. At 
length the clock struck two. The apparition rose from her 
seat, and approached the side of the bed. She grasped with 
icy fingers my hand, which hung lifeless upon the coverture, 
and, pressing her cold lips to mine, again repeated, — 

" Raymona: Raymond! thou art mine! 
Raymond! Raymond! I am thine! " etc. 

She then dropped my hand, quitted the chamber with slow 
steps, and the door closed after her. Till that moment the 
faculties of my body had been all suspended ; those of my 
mind had alone been waking. The charm now ceased to 
operate ; the blood which had been frozen in my veins rushed 
back to my heart with violence ; I uttered a deep groan, and 
sunk lifeless on my pillow. 



THE FEMALE MONK 153 

The adjoining room was only separated from mine by a 
thin partition ; it was occupied by the liost and his wife ; 
the former was roused by my groan, and immediately hast- 
ened to my chamber ; the hostess soon followed him. With 
some difficulty tliey succeeded in restoring me to my senses, 
and immediately sent for the physician, who arrived in all 
diligence. He declared my fever to be very much increased, 
and that, if I continued to suffer such violent agitation, he 
would not take upon him to insure my life. Some medicines 
which he gave me, in some degree ti'anquillized my spirits, 
1 fell into a sort of slumber towards daybreak, but fearful 
dreams prevented me from deriving any benefit from my 
repose. Agnes and tlie bleeding nun presented themselves 
by turns to my fancy, and combined to harass and torment 
me. I awoke fatigued and unrefreshed. My fever seenu.'d 
rather augmented than diminished ; the agitation of my 
mind impeded my fractured bones from knitting ; I had 
frequent fainting fits, and during the whole day the physician 
judged it expedient not to quit me for two hours together. 

The singularity of my adventure made me determine to 
conceal it from everyone, since I could not expect that a 
circumstance so strange should gain credit. I was very un- 
easy about Agnes. I knew not what she would think at not 
finding me at the rendezvous, and dreaded her entertaining 
suspicions of my fidelity. However, I depended upon Theo- 
dore's discretion ; and trusted that my letter to the baroness 
would convince her of the rectitude of my intentions. These 
considerations somewhat lightened my inquietude upon her 
account ; but the impression left upon my mind by my noc- 
turnal visitor, grew stronger with every succeeding moment. 
The night drew near ; I dreaded its arrival ; yet I strove to 
persuade myself that the ghost would appear no more, and 
at all events 1 desired that a servant might sit up in my 
chamber. 

The fatigue of my body, from not having slept on the 



154 EOSARio ; OE, 

former night, co-operating witli the strong opiates admin- 
istered to me in profusion, at length procured me that re- 
pose of which I was so much in need. I sunk into a pro- 
found and tranquil slumber, and had already slept for some 
hours, when the neighboring clock roused me by striking 
one. Its sound brought with it to my memory all the horrors 
of the night before. The same cold shivering seized me. 
I started up in my bed, and perceived the servant fast asleep 
in an arm-chair near me. I called him by his name ; he 
made no answer. I shook him forcibly by the arm, and 
strove in vain to wake him ; he was perfectly insensible to 
my efforts. I now heard the heavy steps ascending tlie 
staircase ; the door was thrown open, and again the bleeding 
nun stood before me. Once more my limits were chained 
in second infancy ; once more I heard those fatal words re- 
peated, — 

" Raymond ! Raymond ! thou art mine ! 
RaymoDd! Raymond! I am thine! " etc. 

The scene which had shoclied me so sensibly on the for- 
mer niglit, was again presented. The spectre again pressed 
its lips to mine, again touched me with her rotting fingers, 
and, as on her first appearance, quitted the chamber as soon 
as the clock told two. 

Every night was this repeated. Far from growing accus- 
tomed to the ghost, every succeeding visit inspired me with 
greater horror. Her idea pursued me continually, and I 
became the prey of habitual melancholy. The constant 
agitation of my mind natui-ally retarded the re-establishment 
of my health. Several months elapsed before I was able to 
quit my bed ; and when, at lengtli, I was moved to a sofa, 
I was so faint, spiritless, and emaciated, that I could not 
cross the room without assistance. The looks of my at- 
tendants sufficiently denoted tiie little hope which they enter- 
tained of my recovery. The profound sadness which oppressed 



THE FEMALE MONK 155 

me without remission, made tlie pliysician consider me to be 
an hypochondriac. The cause of my distress I carefully 
concealed in my own bosom, for I knew that no one could 
give me relief. The ghost was not even visible to any eye 
but mine. I had frequently ca«sed attendants to sit up in 
my room ; but the moment the clock struck one, irresistible 
slumber seized them, nor left them till the departure of the 
ghost. 

You may be surprised that during this time I made no 
inquiries after your sister. Theodore, who with difficulty had 
•discovered my abode, had quieted my apprehensions for her 
safety ; at the same time he convinced me, that all attempts 
to release her from captivity must be fruitless, till I should 
be in a condition to return to Spain. The particulars of her 
adventure, which I shall now relate to you, were partly com- 
municated to me by Theodore, and partly by Agnes herself. 

On the fatal night when her elopement was to have taken 
place, accident had not permitted her to quit her chamber 
at the appointed time. At length she ventured into the 
haunted room, descended the staircase leading into the hall, 
found the gates open as she expected, and left the castle 
unobserved. What was her surprise at not finding me ready 
to receive her! She examined the cavern, ranged through 
every alley of the neighboring wood, and passed two full 
hours in this fruitless inquiry. She could discover no traces 
either of me or of the carriage. Alarmed and disappointed, 
her only resource was to return to the castle before the 
barones missed .her ; but here she found herself in a fresh 
embarrassment. The bell had already tolled two, the ghostly 
hour was past, and the careful porter had locked the folding 
gates. After much irresolution she ventured to knock softly. 
Luckily for her, Conrad was still awake : he heard the noise, 
and rose, murmuring at being called up a second time. No 
sooner had he opened one of the doors, and beheld the sup- 
posed apparition waiting there for admittance, than he uttered 



156 ROSARIO ; OR, 

a loud cry, and sunk upon his knees. Agnes profited by his 
terror: she glided by him, flew to her own apartment, and 
having thrown off her spectre's trappings, retired to bed, 
endeavoring in vain to account for my disappearing. 

In the meanwhile, Theodore having seen my carriage drive 
off with the false Agnes, returned joyfully to the village. The 
next morning he released Cunegonda from her confinement, 
and accompanied her to the castle. There he found the baron , 
his lady, and Don Gaston disputing together upon the porter's 
relation. All of them agreed in believing the existence of 
spectres ; but the latter contended that for a ghost to knock 
for admittance was a proceeding till then unwitnessed, and 
totally incompatible with the immaterial nature of a spirit. 
They were still discussing the subject, when the page appeared 
with Cunegonda, and cleared up the mystery. On hearing his 
deposition, it was agreed unanimously that the Agnes whom 
Theodore had seen step into my carriage must have been the 
bleeding nun , and that tlie ghost who Imd terrified Conrad was 
no other than Don Gaston's daughter. 

The first surprise which this discovery occasioned being 
over, the baroness resolved to make it of use in persuading 
her niece to take the veil. Fearing lest so advantageous an 
establislnuent for his daughter should induce Don Gaston to 
renounce his resolution, she suppressed my letter, and con- 
tinued to represent me as a needy, unknown adventurer. A 
childish vanity had led me to conceal my real name even from 
my mistress ; I wished to be loved for myself, not for being 
the son and heir of the Marquis de las Cisternas. The con- 
sequence was, that my rank was known to no one in the castle 
except the baroness, and she took good care to confine the 
knowledge to her own breast. Don Gaston having approved 
his sister's design, Agnes was summoned to appear before 
them. She was taxed with having meditated an elopement, 
obliged to make a full confession, and was amazed at the 
gentleness with which it was received : but what was her 



THE FEMALE MONK 157 

affliction, when informed tliat tlie failure of lier project mnst 
be attributed to me ! Ciinegonda, tutored by tlie baroness, 
told her, that when I released her I had desired her to inform 
her lady that onr connection was at an end ; that the wliole 
affair was occasioned by a false report ; and that it by no means 
suited my circumstances to marry a woman without fortune 
or expectations. 

To tliis account my sudden disappearing gave but too great 
an air of probability : Theodore, who could have contradicted 
the story, by Donna llodolpha's order, was kept out of her 
sigiit. What proved a still greater confirmation of my being 
an impostor, was the arrival of a letter from yourself, declar- 
ing that you had no sort of acquaintance with Alphouso 
d'Alvarada. Those seeming proofs of my perfidy, aided by 
the artful insinuations of her aunt, by Cunegonda's flattery, 
and her father's threats and anger, entirely conquered you'r 
sister's repugnance to a convent. Incensed at my behavior, 
and disgusted with the world in general, she consented to 
receive the veil. She passed another month at the castle of 
Lindenberg, during which my non-appearance confirmed her 
in her resolution, and then accompanied Don Gaston into 
Spain. Theodore was now set at liberty. He hastened to 
JMuiiich, where I liad promised to let liim hear from me ; but 
finding from Lucas that I never arrived there, he pursued 
his search with indefatigable perseverance, and at length 
succeeded in rejoining me at Eatisbon. 

So much was I altered, that scarcely could he recollect my 
features : the distress visible upon his, sufBciently testified 
how lively was the interest which he felt for me. The society 
of this amiable boy, whom I hail always considered ratlier as 
a companion than a servant, was now my only comfort. His 
conversation was gay, yet sensible, and his observations 
shrewd and entertaining. He had picked up much more 
knowledge than is usual at his age ; but what rendered him 
most ao-reeable to me, was his having a delightful voice, and 



158 ROSARio ; OR, 

sonic skill in music. He had also acquired some taste in 
poetiy, and even ventured sometimes to write verses himself. 
He occasionally composed little ballads in Spanish. His 
compositions were but indifferent, I must confess, yet they 
were pleasing to me from their novelty ; and hearing him sing 
them to his guitar was the only amusement which I was 
capable of receiving. Theodore perceived well enough that 
something preyed upon my mind ; but as I concealed the 
cause of my grief even from him, respect would not permit 
him to pry into my secrets. 

One evening I was lying upon my sofa, plunged in reflections 
very far from agreeable : Theodore amused himself by observ- 
ing from the window a battle between two postillions, who 
were quarrelling in the inn-yard. 

" Pla ! ha!" cried he suddenly, "yonder is the Great 
Mogul." 

"Who?" said I. 

" Only a mau who made me a strange speech at Munich." 

" What was the purport of it? " 

" Now you put me in mind of it, Segnor, it was a kind of 
message to you, but truly it was not worth delivering. I be- 
lieve the fellow to be mad for ray part. When I came to 
Munich in search of you I found him living at ' the King of 
the Eomans,' and the host gave me an odd account of him. 
By his account he is supposed to be a foreigner, but of what 
country nobody can tell. He seemed to have no acquaintance 
in the town, spoke very seldom, and never was seen to smile. 
^ He had neither servants nor baggage ; but his purse seemed 
well furnished, and he did mucli good in the town. Some 
supposed him to be an Arabian astrologer, others to be a 
travelling mountebank, and many declared th:\t he was Doctor 
Faustus, whom the devil had sent back to Germany. The 
landlord, however, told me that he had tlie best reasons to 
believe him to be the Great Mogul incognito." 

" But the strange speech, Theodore — " 



THE FEMALE MONK 159 

" True, I had almost forgotten the speech : indeed, for that 
matter it would not have been a great loss if I had forgotten 
it all together. You are to know, Segnor, that while I was 
inquiring about you of the landlord, this stranger passed by. 
He stopped, and looked at me earnestly. " Youth," said he 
in a solemn voice, " he whom you seek, has found that which 
he would fain lose. My hand alone can dry up the blood. 
Bid your master wish for me when the clock strikes one." 

"How?" cried I, starting from my sofa. (The words 
which Theodore had repeated, seemed to imply the stranger's 
knowledge of my secret.) " Fly to him, my boy ! entreat him 
to grant me one moment's conversation." 

Theodore was surprised at the vivacity of my manner : 
however, he asked no questions, but hastened to obey me. I 
waited his return impatiently. But a short space of time had 
elapsed when he again appeared, and ushered the expected 
guest into my chamber. He was a man of majestic presence ; 
his countenance was strongly marked, and his eyes were 
large, black, and sparkling ; yet there was a something in his 
look which, the moment that I saw him, inspired me with a 
secret awe, not to say horror. He was dressed plainly, his hair 
was unpowdered, and a band of black velvet which encircled his 
forehead, spread over his features an additional gloom. His 
countenance wore the marks of profound melancholy, his step 
was slow, and his manner grave, stately, and solemn. 

He saluted me with politeness ; and having replied to the 
usual compliments of introduction, he motioned to Theodore 
to quit the chamber. The page instantly withdrew. 

" I know your business," said he, without giving me time 
to speak; "I have the power of releasing you from your 
nightly visitor ; but this cannot be done before Sunday. On 
the hour when the Sabbath morning breaks, spirits of dark- 
ness have least influence over mortals. After Saturday the 
nun shall visit you no more." 

" May I not inquire," said I, " by what means you are in 



160 ROSAKIO ; OR, 

possession of a secret which I carefully concealed from the 
knowledge of everyone ? " 

" How can I be ignorant of your distresses, when their 
cause at this moment stands beside you?" 

I started. The stranger continued. 

"Though to you only visible for one hour in the twenty- 
four, neither day nor night does she ever quit you ; nor will 
she ever quit you till you have granted her request." 

" And what is that request? " 

" That she must herself explain : it lies not in my know- 
ledge. Wait with patience for the night of Saturday ; all 
shall then be cleared up." 

I dared not press him further ; he soon after changed the 
conversation, and talked of various matters. He named 
people who had ceased to exist for many centuries, and yet 
with whom he appeared to have been personally acquainted. 
I could not mention a country, however distant, which he had 
not visited, uor could I sufficiently admire the extent and 
variety of his information. I remarked to him, that having 
travelled, seen and known so much, must have given him 
infinite pleasure. He shook his head mournfully. 

"No one," he replied, "is adequate to comprehending 
tlie misery of my lot ! Fate obliges me to be constantly in 
movement ; I am not permitted to pass more than a fortnight 
in the same place. I have no friend in the world, and, from 
the restlessness of my destiny, I never can acquire one. Fain 
would T lay down my miserable life, for I envy those who 
enjoy the quiet of the grave ; but death eludes me, and flies 
from my embrace. In vain do I throw myself in the way of ^ 
danger. 1 plunge into the ocean ; the waves throw me back 
witli abhorrence upon the shore. I rush into fire ; the flames 
recoil at my approach. I oppose myself to the fury of ban- 
ditti ; their swords become blunted, and break agiiinst my 
breast. The hungry tiger shudders at my approach, and 
the alligator flies from a monster more horrible tiian itself. 



THE FEMALE MONK 161 

God has set his seal upon me, and all his creatures respect 
this fatal mark." 

He put his hand to the velvet which was bound round his 
forehead. There was in his eyes an expression of fury, 
despair, and malevolence, that struck horrorJiO my very soul. 
An involuntary convulsion made me shudder. The stranger 
perceived it. 

" Such is the curse imposed on me," he continued. " I am 
doomed to inspire all who look on me with terror and detesta- 
tion. You already feel the influence of the charm, and with 
every succeeding moment will feel it more. I will not add 
to your sufferings by hiy presence. Farewell till Saturday.. 
As soon as the clock strikes twelve, expect me at your 
chamber-door." 

Having said this he departed, leaving me in astonishment 
at the mysterious turn of his manner and conversation. His 
assurances t"hat I should soon be relieved from the apparition's 
visits produced a good effect upon my constitution. Theo- 
dore, whom I rather treated as an adopted child than a domes- 
tic, was surprised at his return to observe the amendment in 
my looks. He congratulated me on this Symptom of returning 
health, and declared himself delighted at my having received 
so nnicli benefit from my conference with tlie Great Mogul. 
Upon inquiry I found that the stranger had already passed 
eight days in Ratisbon. According to his own account, 
therefore, he was only to remain there six days longer. 
Saturday was still at the distance of three. Oh ! with what 
impatience did I expect its arrival ! In the interim, the 
bleeding nun continued her nocturnal visits ; but hoping soon 
to be released from them altogether, the effects which they 
produced on me became less violent than before. 

The wished-for night arrived. To avoid creating suspicion 
I retired to bed at my usual hour. But as soon as my atten- 
dants had left me, I dressed myself again, and prepared for 
the stranger's reception. He entered my room upon the turn 

KOSABIO 11 



162 EOSARIO ; OR, 

of miihiight. A small chest was in liis hand, which lie placed 
near the stove. He saluted me without speaking ; I returned 
the compliment, observing an equal silence. He then opened 
his chest. The first thing wliich he produced was a small 
wooden crncifix ; lie sunk upon liis knees, gazed upon it 
mournfully, and cast his ej^es towards Ilea^■en. He seemed to 
be praying devoutly. At length he bowed liis head respect- 
fully, liissed the cruciflx tlu'ice, and quitted his kneeling 
posture. He next drew from th.e chest a covered goblet : with 
the liquor which it contained, and which appeared to be blood, 
he sprinkled the floor ; and then dipping in it one end of the 
cruciflx, he described a cirole in the middle of the room. 
Round about this he placed various relics, skulls, thigh- 
bones, etc., I observed- that he disposed them all in the forms 
of crosses. Lastly, he took out a large Bible, and beckoned 
me to follow him hito the circle. I obeyed. 

"Be cautious not to utter a syllable !" whispered the 
stranger ; " step not out of the circle, and as you love your- 
self, dare not to look upon my face ! " 

Holding the cruciflx in one hand, the Bible in the other, 
he seemed to read with profound attention. The clock struck 
one ! As usual I heard the spectre's steps upon the staircase ; 
but I was not seized with the accustomed shivering. I waited 
her approach with confidence. She entered the room, drew 
near the circle, and stopped. The stranger muttered some 
words to me unintelligible. Then raising his head from the 
book, and extending the cruciflx towards the ghost, he pro- 
nounced, iu a voice distinct and solemn, — 
"Beatrice! Beatrice! Beatrice!" 

" What would' st thou? " replied the apparition in a hollow, 
faltering tone. 

"What disturbs thy sleep? Why dost thou afflict and 
torture this youth? How can rest be restored to thy unquiet 
spirit? " 

" I dare not tell ! I must not tell ! Fuiu would I repose 



THE FEMALE MONK 1(13 

in my grave, but stpvn commands, force me to pioloiit;- my 
punishment ! " 

" Knowest thou this blood? Knowest tliou in whose 
veins it flowed? Beatrice ! Beatrice ! In his name, I charge 
thee to answer me." 

" I dare not disobey my taskers." 

" Barest thou disobey me?" 

He spoke in a commanding tone, and drew the sable band 
from his forehead. In spite of his injunctions to the con- 
trary, curiosity would not suffer me to keep my eyes off his 
face : I raised them, and beheld a burning cross impressed 
upon his brow. For the horror with which this object in- Z^" 
spired me I cannot account, but I never felt its equal. My 
senses left me for some moments : a mysterious dread over- 
came my courage ; and had not the exorciser caught my 
hand, I should have fallen out of the circle. 

When I recovered myself, I perceived that the burnuig 
cross had produced an effect no less violent upon the spectre. 
Her countenance expressed reverence and horror, and her 
visionfiry limbs were shaken by fear. 

"Yes!" she said at length, " I tremble at that mark! I 
respect it ! I obey you ! Know, then, that my bones lie 
still unburied: they rot in the obscurity of Liudenberg Hole. 
None but this youth has the right of consigning tliem to the 
grave. His own lips have made over to me his body and 
his soul : never will I give back his promise, never shall he 
know a night devoid of terror, unless he engages to collect 
my mouldering bones, and deposit them in the family vault 
of his Andalusian castle. Then let tliirty masses be said 
for the repose of my spirit, and I trouble this world no 
more. Now let me depart. Those flames are scorcliing ! " 

He let the hand drop slowly which held the crucifix, and 
which till then he had pointed towards her. The apparition ^ 
bowed her head, and her fornr melted into air. TJio ex- 
orciser led me out of the circle. He replaced the Bible, etc., 



164 ROSARIO ; OR, 

in the chest, and then addressed himself to me, wlio stood 
near him speecliless from astonishment. 

" Don Raymond, yon have heavdtlio conditions on which 
repose is promised you. Bo it your husiness to fulfil them 
to tlie letter. For me, nothing more remains than to clear 
up tlie darkness still spread over tlie, spectre's histoiy, and 
inform you, that when living Beatrice bore the name of las 
Cisternas. She was the great-aunt of your grandfather. In 
quality of your relation, her ashes demand respect from you, 
though the enormity of her crimes must excite your abhoi- 
rence. The nature of those crimes no one is more capable 
of explaining to you than mj'self. I was personally ac- 
quainted with the holy man who proscribed her nocturnal 
riots in the castle of Lindenberg, and I hold this narrative 
from his own lips. 

" Beatrice de las Cisternas took the veil at an early age, 
not by her own choice, but at .tlie express command of her 
parents. She was then too young to regret the pleasures of 
wliich her profession deprived her ; but no sooner did her 
warm and voluptuous cluiraet^r begin to be developed, than 
she abandoned herself freely to the impulse of her passions, 
and seized tlie first opportunity to procure their gratification. 
This opportunity was at lengtli presented, after many ob- 
stacles, which only added new force to her desires. She 
contrived to elope from the convent, and fled to Gk^rmany 
with the Baron Lindenberg. Slie lived at his castle several 
niontlis as liis avow^l-GOBcubine. All Bavaria was scan- 
dalized by her imprudent and abandoned conduct. Her 
feasts vied in luxury with Cleopatra's, and Lindenberg bo- 
came tlie theatre of tlie most unbridled debauchery. Kot 
satisfied ^yiU^ displaying the incontinence of a prostitude, 
she professed herself an atlieist : she took every opportunity 
to scoff at her monastic vows, and loaded with ridicule tlie 
most sacred ceremonies of religion. 

"Possessed of a character so depraved, she did not long 



THE FEMALE MONK 165 

confine her affections to one object. Soon after her arrival 
at tlie castle, the baron's younger brotlici' attracted her notice 
by his strong-niarlted features, gigantic stature, and her- 
culean limbs. She was not of an huinor to lieep lier in- 
clinations long unknown ; but she foinid in Otto von Lin- 
denberg iier equal in depravity. He returned her passion 
just sufficiently to increase it ; and wlien he had worked it 
up to tlie desired pitch, he fixed tlie price of his love at his 
brother's murder. The wretch consented to this horrible 
agreement. A night was pitched upon for perpetrating the 
deed. Otto, who resided on a small estate a few miles dis- 
tant from the castle, promised that, at one in the morning, 
he would be waiting for her at Lindenberg Hole ; that he 
would bring with him a party of chosen friends, by whose 
aid he doubted not being able to make himself master of the 
castle ; and that his next step should be the uniting her 
hand to his. It was this last promise whicii over-ruled every 
scruple of Beatrice, since, in spite of his affection for hei', 
the baron had declared positively, that he never would make 
her his wife. 

"The fatal night arrived. The baron slept in the arms 
of his perfidious mistress, when the castle bell struck one. 
Immediately Beatrice drew a dagger from underneatli her 
pillow, and plunged it in her paramour's heart. The baron 
uttered a single dreadful groan and expired. The niurdoess 
quitted her bed hastily, took a lamp in one hand, in the 
other the bloody dagger, and bent her course towards the 
cavern. The porter dared not to refuse opening the gates 
to one more dreaded in the castle than its master. Beatrice 
reached Lindenberg Hole unopposed, where, according to 
promise, she found Otto waiting for her. He received, and 
listened to her narrative with transport; but ere she had 
time to ask why he came unaccompanied, he convinced her 
that he wished for no witnesses to their interview. Anxious 
to conpeal his share in the murder, and to free himself from 



166 ROSARIO ; OR, 

a woman wliose violent and atrocious character made him 
tremble, with reason, for his own safety, he had resolved on 
the destruction of his wretched agent. Eushilig upon her 
suddenly, he wrested the dagger from her hand. He plunged 
it, still reeking with his brother's blood, in her bosom, and 
put an end to her existence by repeated blows. 

" Otto now succeeded to the barony of Lindeuberg. The 
murder was attributed solely to the fugitive nun, and no one 
suspected him to have persuaded her to the action. But 
though his crime was unpunished by man, God's justice per- 
mitted him not to enjoy in peace his blood-stained honors. 
Her bones lying still unburied in the cave, the restless soul 
of Beatrice continued to inhabit the castle. Dressed in her 
religious habit, in the memor3^of her vows broken to heaven, 
furnished with the dagger which had drunk the blood of 
her paramour, and holding the lamp which had guided her 
flying steps, every niglit did she stand before the bed of 
Otto. The most dreadful confusion reignud through the 
castle. The vaulted chambers resounded with shrieks and 
groans ; and the spectre, as she ranged along tlie antique 
galleries, uttered an incoherent mixture of prayers and 
blasphemies. Otto was unable to withstand the shock which 
he felt at this fearful vision : its horrors increased with 
every succeeding appearance. His alarm at length became 
so unsupportable, that his heart burst, and one morning he 
was found in his bed totally deprived of warmth and anima- 
tion. His death did not put an end to the nocturnal riots. 
The bones of Beatrice continued to be unburied, and her 
ghost continued to haunt the castle. 

" The domains of Luidenberg now fell to a distant relation. 
But terrified by the accounts given him of the bleeding nun 
(so was the spectre called by the multitude) , the new baron 
called to his assistance a celebrated exorciser. This holy 
pian succeeded in obliging her to t.cnipoi'nry repose ; but 
though she discovered to him her history, he was not per- 



THE FEMALE MONK 167 

mitted to reveal it to others, or cause her skeleton to be re- 
moved to hallowed ground. That office was reserved for 
you ; and till your coming, her ghost was doomed to wander 
about the castle, and lament the crime which she had there 
committed. However, the exoreiser obliged her to silence 
during his lifetime. So long as he existed, the haunted 
chamber was shut np, and the spectre was invisible. At his 
death, which happened in five years after, she again ap- 
peared, but only once in every fifth year, on the same day 
and at the same hour when she plunged her- knife in the 6—^ 
heart of her sleeping lover ; she then visited tlie cavern 
which heldhor mouldering skeleton, returned to the castle,as 
soon as the clock struck two, and was seen no more till the 
next five years had elapsed. 

" She was doomed to sutler during the space of a century. 
That period is pa.st. Nothing now remains but to consign '^ 
to the grave tlie ashes of Beatrice. I have been the means 
of releasing you from your visionary tormentor ; and amidst 
all the sorrows which oppress me, to think that I have been 
of use to you, is some consolat.ion. Youth, farewell ! May 
the ghost of your relation enjoy tliat rest in the toinb which 
the Almighty's vengeance has denied to me for ever ! " 
Here the stranger prepared to quit the apartment. 
" Stay yet one moment ! " said I ; " you have satisfied my 
curiosity with regard to the spectre, but you leave me a prey 
to yet greater respecting yourself. Deign to inform me to 
whom I am under such real obligations. You mention cir- 
cumstances long past, and persons long dead : you were 
personally acquainted with the exoreiser, who, by your own 
account, has been deceased near a century. How am I to 
account for this? what rneans that burning cross upon your 
forehead, and why did the sight of it strike such horror to j 
my soul ? " I ' 

On these points he for some time refused to satisfy me. 
At length, overcome by my entreaties, he consen|ied to ckai' 



168 EOSARIO ; OR, 

up the whole, on condition that I would defer his explana- 
tion till the next day. "With his request I was obliged to 
conipJ.y, and he left me. In the morning my first care was 
to inquire after the mysterious stranger. Conceive my dis- 
appointment, when informed that he had already quitted 
Ratisbon. I despatched messengers in pursuit of him, but 
in vain. No traces of the fugitive were discovered. Since 
that moriient I never have heard any more of him, and 'tis 
most probable that I never shall. 

[Lorenzo here interrupted his friend's narrative, — 

"How!" said he, "you have never discovered who he 
was, or even formed a guess ? 

" Pardon me," replied the marquis ; " when I related this 
adventure to my uncle, the cardinal-duke, he told me that he 
had no doubt of this singular man's being the celebrated 
character known universally by the name of tJie Wandering 
Jew. His not being permitted to pass more than fourteen 
days on the same spot, the burning cross impressed upon his 
forehead, the effect which it produced upon the beholders, 
and many other circumstances, gave this supposition the 
color of truth. The cardinal is fully persuaded of it ; and 
for my own part I am inclined to adopt the only solution 
which offers itself to this rjddle." I return to the narrative 
from which I have digressed.] 

From this period I recovered my health so rapidly as to 
astonish my physicians. The bleeding nun appeared no 
more, and 1 was soon able to set out for Lindenberg. The 
baron received me with open arms. I confided to him the 
sequel of my adventure ; and he was not a little pleased to 
fiud that his mansion would be no longer troubled with the 
phantom's quinquennial visits. I was sorry to perceive that 
absence had not weakened Donna Rodolpha's imprudent 
passion. In a private conversation which I had with her 
during my short stay at the c;i.stle, she renewed her attempts 
to persuade me to return her affection. Regarding her as 



THE FEMALE MOHK 169 

the primary cause of all my sufferings, I entertained for her 
no other sentiment than disgust. The skeleton of Beatrice 
was found in the place which she had mentioned. This being 
all that I sought at Lindenberg, I hastened to quit the baron's 
domains, equally anxious, to perform the obsequies of the 
murdered nun, and escape the importunity of a woman 
whom I detested. I departed, followed by Donna Ro- 
dolpha's menaces that my contempt should not be long un- 
punished. 

I now bent my course towards Spain with all diligence. 
Lucas, with my baggage, had joined me during my abode at 
Lindenberg. I arrived in my native country without any 
accident, and immediately proceeded to my father's castle in 
Andalusia. The remains of Beatrice were deposited in the 
family vault, all due ceremonies performed, and the number 
of masses said which she had required. Nothing now hin- 
dered me from employing all my endeavors to discover the 
retreat of Agnes. The baroness had assured me that her 
niece had already taken the veil ; this intelligence I sus- 
pected to have been forged by jealousy, and hoped to find 
my mistress still at liberty to accept my hand. I inquired 
after her family ; I found that before her daughter could 
reach Madrid, Donna Inesilla was no more; yon, ujy dear 
Lorenzo, were said to be abroad, but where 1 could not dis- 
cover ; your father was in a distant province, on a visit tc 
the Duke de Medina ; and as to Agnes, no one could or 
would inform me what was become of her. Theodore, ac- 
cording to promise, had returned to Strasbourg, where he 
found his grandfather dead, and Marguerite in possession of 
his fortune. All her persuasions to remain with her were 
fruitless; he quitted her a second time, and followed me to 
Madrid. He exerted himself to the utmost in forwarding 
my search ; but our united endeavors were unattended by 
success. The retreat which concealed Agnes remained -m 



170 KOSAKIO ; OR, 

impenetrable mystery, and I began to abandon all hopes of 
recovering her. 

About eight months ago I was returning to my hotel in a 
melancholy humor, after passing the evening at the play- 
house. The night was dark, and I was unaccompanied. 
Plunged in reflections which were far from being agreeable, 
I perceived not that three men had followed me from the 
theatre, till, on turning into an unfrequf ated street, they all 
attacked me at the same time with the utmost fury. I 
sprang back a few paces, drew my sword, and threw my 
cloak over luy left arm. The obscurity of the night was in 
my favor. For the most part the blows of the assassins, 
being aimed at random, failed to touch me. I at length was 
fortunate enough to lay one of my adversa,ries at my feet ; 
but before this I had already received so many wounds, and 
was so warmly pressed, that my destruction would have been 
inevitable, had not the clashing of swords called a cavalier 
to my assistance. He ran towards me witli his sword drffivn ; 
several domestics followed him with torches. His arrival 
made the combat equal ; yet would not tlie bravoes abandon 
their design, till their servants were on the point of joining 
us. They then fled away, and we lost them in the ob- 
scurity. 

The stranger now addressed himself to me with politeness, 
and inquired whether I was wounded. Faint witli the loss of 
blood, 1 could scarcely thank him for his seasonable aid, and 
entreat him to let some of his servants convey nie to the Hotel 
de las Cisternas. I no sooner mentioned the name than he 
professed himself an acqu dntance of my father's, and de- 
clared that he would not permit my being transported to such 
a distance before my wounds had been examined. He added 
tliat his house was hard by, and begged me to accompany liim 
thither. His manner was so cariM-st, that I could not reject 
his offer; and, leaning upon his arm, a few minutes brought 
me to the porch of a magnificent hotel, 



THE FEMALE MONK 171 

On entering the house, an old grey-headed domestic came 
to welcome my conductor ; he inquired when the duke, his 
master, meant to quit the country, and was answered tliat he 
would remain there yet some months. My deliverer then 
desired the family surgeon to be summoned without delay ; 
his orders were obeyed. I was seated upon a sofa in a noble 
apartment, and my wounds being examined, they were de- 
clared to be very slight. The siu'geon, however, advised mc 
not to expose myself to the night air ; and the stranger pressed 
me so earnestly to take a bed in his house, that I consented 
to remain where I was for the present. 

Being now left alone with my deliverer, I toolv the oppor- 
tunity of thanking him in more express terms than I had done 
hitherto ; but lie begged me to be silent upon the subject. 

" I esteem myself happy," said he, " in having had it in 
my power to render you this little service, and I sliall think 
myself eternally obliged to my daughter for detaining me so 
late at the convent of St. Clare. The high esteem in which 
I have ever beheld the Marquis de las Cisternas, tliough 
accident has not permitted our being so intimate as I could 
wish,-makes me rejoice in the- opportunity of making his son's 
acquaintance. 1 am certain that my brother, in whose house 
you now are, will lament his not being at Madrid to receive 
you himself ;, but in the duke's absence, I am master of the 
family, and may assure you in his name, that everything in 
the Hotel de Medina is perfectly at your disposal." 

Conceive my surprise, Lorenzo, at discovering in the per- 
son of my preserver, Don Gaston de Medina. It was only 
to be equalled by my secret satisfaction at the assurance that 
Agnes inhabited the convent of St. Clare. This latter sen- 
sation was not a little weakened, when, in answer to my 
seemingly indifferent questions, he told me that his daughter 
had really taken the veil. I suffered not my grief at tliis 
circumstance to take root in my mind ; I flattered myself 
with the idea that my uncle's credit at the court of liome 



172 RosARio ; OR, 

would remove this obstacle, and that, without difflcultj', I 
sliould obtaia for my mistress a dispensation from her vows. 
Buoyed up by this hope, I calmed the uneasiness of my 
bosom ; and I redoubled my endeavors to appear grateful foi' 
the attention, and pleased with the society of Don Gaston. 

A domestic now entered the room, and informed me that 
the bravo whom I liad wounded discovered some signs of life. 
I desired tliat he miglit be carried to my father's hotel, and 
said that, as soon as he had I'ecovered his voice, I would 
examine him respecting his reasons for attempting my life. 
I was answered that he was ali-eady able to speak, though 
with difficulty. Don Gaston's curiosity made him press me 
to interrogate the assassin in his presence ; but this curiosity 
I was by no means inclined to gratify. One reason was, 
that, doubting from whence the blow came, I was unwilling 
to place before Don Gaston's eyes the guilt of a sister. An- 
other was, that I feared to be recognized for Alphonso 
d'Alvarada, and precautions taken in consequence to keep 
me from the sight of Agnes. To avow my passion for 
his daughter, and endeavor to nialie hiin enter into my 
schemes, wliat I knew of Don Gaston's character convinced 
me would be an imprudent step ; and considering it to be 
essential that he sliould know me for no other than theCoud^ 
■de las Cisternas, I was determined not to let him hear the 
bravo's confession. I insinu;ited to him that, as I suspected 
a lady to be concerned in the business, whose name might 
accidentally escape from the assassin, it was necessary for 
me to examine the man in private. Don Gaston's delicacy 
would not permit his urging the point any longer, and in 
consequence, tlie bravo was conveyed to my hotel. 

The next morning I took leave of my host, who was to 
return to the duke on the same day. My wounds had been 
so trifling, that, except being obliged to wear my arm in a 
sling for a sliort time, I felt no inconvenience from the night's 
adventure. The surgeon who examined the bravo's wound 



THE FEMALE MONK 173 

declared it to be mortal ; he had just time to. confess that he 
had been instigated to murder me by the revengeful Donna 
Rodolpha, and expired in a few minutes after. 

All my thoughts were now bent upon getting to the speech 
of my lovely nun. "Theodore set himself to work, and, for 
this time witii better success. He attacked the gardener of 
St. Clare so forcibly with bribes and promises, that the old 
man was entirely gained over to my interests ; and it was 
settled that I should be introduced into the convent in the 
character of his assistant. The plan was put into execution 
without delaj'. Disguised in a connnon habit, and a black 
patch covering one of my eyes, 1 was presented to the lady 
prioress, who condescended to approve of the gardener's 
choice. I immediately entered upon my employment. Bot- 
any having been a favorite study with me, I was by no means 
at a loss in my new station. For some days I continued to 
work in the convent garden without meeting the object of my 
disguise. On the fourth morning I, was more successful. 1 
heard the voice of Agnes, and was speeding towards the 
sound, when the sight of the domina stopped me. I drew 
back with caution, and concealed myself behind a thick clump 
of trees. 

The prioress advanced, and seated herself with Agnes on 
a bench at no gi-eat distance. I heard her, in an angry tone, 
blame her companion's continual melancholy. She told her 
that to weep the loss of any lover, in her situiition, was a 
crime ; but that to weep the loss of a faithless one was folly 
and absurdity in the extreme. Agnes replied in so low a 
voice that I could not distinguish her words, but I perceived 
that she used terms of gentleness and submission. The con- 
versation was interrupted by the arrival of a young pensioner, 
who informed the domina tiiat slie was waited for in the 
parlor. The old lady rose, kissed the cheek of Agnes, and 
retired. The new-comer remained. Agnes spoke much to 
her in praise of somebody whom I could not make out, but 



174 ROSARIO ; OR, 

her auditor seemed highly delighted, and interested by the 
conversation. The nun showed her several letters : the other 
perused them with evident pleasure, obtained permission to_ 
copy them, and withdrew for that purpose, to my great satis- 
faction. ' 

No sooner was she out of sight, than I quitted my conceal- 
ment. Fearing to alarm my lovely mistress, I drew near her 
gently, intending to discover myself by degrees. But who for 
a moment can discover the eyes of love ? She raised her head 
at ni}' approach, and recognized me in spite of my disguise, 
at a single glance. She rose hastily from her seat, with an 
exclamation of surprise, and attempted to retire ; but I 
followed her, detained her, and entreated to be heard. Per- 
suaded of my falsehood, she refused to listen to me, and 
ordered me positively to quit the garden. It was now my 
turn to refuse. I protested that, however dangerous mfght 
be the consequences, I could not leave her till she had heard 
my justification. I assured her that she had been deceived 
by the artifices of her relations ; that I would convince her 
beyond the power of doubt, that my passion had been pure 
and disinterested ; and I asked her what should induce me 
to seek her in tlie convent were I influenced by the selfish 
motives which my enemies had ascribed to me. 

My prayers, my arguments, and vows not to quit her till 
she had promised to listen to me, united her fears lest the 
nuns should see me with her, to her natural curiosity, and to 
the affection which she still felt for me, in spite of my sup- 
posed desertion, at length prevailed. She told me that to 
grant my request at that moment was impossible ; but she 
engaged to be at the same spot at eleven that night, and to 
converse with me for the last time. Having obtained that 
promise, T released lier hand, and^slie flew back with rapidity 
towards the convent. 

I communicated my success to my ally, the old gardener : 
he pointed out a hiding-place, where I might shelter myself 



THE FEMALE MONK 175 

till night without fear of a discovery. Thither 1 betook my- 
self at the hour when I ought to liave retii'cd with my sup- 
posed master, ami waited impatiently for the appointed time. 
The dullness of the night was in my favor, since it kept the 
other nuns confined to their cells. Agnes alone was insen- 
sible of the inclemency of the air, and, before eleven, joined 
me at the spot which had witnessed our former interview. 
Secure from interruption , I related to her the true cause of 
my disappearing on the fatal fifth of May. She was evidently 
much affected by my narrative. When it was concluded, she 
confessed the injustice of her suspicions, and blamed herself 
for having taken the veil througli despair at my ingratitude. 

" But now it is too late to repine ! " she ad<led ; " the die 
is thrown : I have pronounced my vows, and dedicated jiiyseU' 
to the service of heaven. I am sensible how ill I am calcu- 
lated for a convent. My disgust at a monastic life increases 
daily ; ennui and discontent are my constant companions ; 
and I will not conceal from you that the passion which I 
formerly felt for one so near being my husband, is not yet 
extinguished in my bosom : but we must part ! Insuperable 
barriers divide us from each other, and on this side the grave 
we must never meet again ! " 

I now exerted myself to prove that our union was not so 
impossible as she seemed to think it. I vaunted to her the 
Cardinal-Duke of Lerma's influence at the court of Rome. I 
assured her that I should easily obtain a dispensation from 
her vows ; and I doubted not but Don Gaston would coincide 
with my views, when informed of my real name and long 
attachment. Agnes replied, that since I encouraged such an 
hope, I could know but little of her father. Liberal and kind 
in every other respect, superstition formed the only stuin 
upon his character. Upon this head he was inflexible : he 
sacrificed his dearest interests to his scruples, and would con- 
sider it an insult to suppose him capable of authorizing his 
daughter to break her vows to .heaven. 



176 ROSARIO ; OR, 

" But suppose," said I, inteiruptiug her — " suppose tliat 
he should disapprove of our union : let him remain ignorant 
of my proceedings till I have rescued you from the prison in 
■which you are now confined. Once my wife, you are free 
from his authority. I need from him no pecuniary assist- 
ance ; and when he sees his resentment to be unavailing, he 
will doubtless restore yon to his favor. But, let the worst 
happen : sliould Don Gaston be irreconcilable, my relations"? 
will vie with each other in making you forget his loss ; and 
yoii will find in my father a substitute for the parent of whom 
1 shall deprive you." 

" Don Eaymond," replied Agnes, in a firm and resolute 
voice, " I love my father : he has treated me harshly in this 
one instance ; but I have received from him, in every other. 
So manj' [iroofs of love, that his affection is become neccssfiry 
to my existence. Were I to quit the convent, he never would 
forgive me ; nor can I think that, on his death-bed, he would 
leave me his curse without shuddei'ing at the very idea. Be- 
sides, I am conscious myself that my vows are binding. 
Wilfully did I contract my engagement with heavai : I can- 
not break it without a crime. Then banish from your mind 
the idea of our being ever united. I am devoted to religion ; 
and however I may grieve at our separation, 1 would oppose 
obstacles myself , to what I feel would render me guilty." 

I strove to overrule tliese ill-grounded scruples. We were 
still disputing upon the subject, when tlie convent bell sum- 
moned the nuns to matins. Agnes was obliged to attend 
tliem ; but she left me not till I had compelled her to promise 
that, on the following night, she would be at the same place 
at the same. hour. These meetings continued for several 
weeks uninterrupted : and 'tis now, Lorenzo, that I must 
implore your indulgence. Reflect upon our situation, our 
youth, our long attachment. Weigh all the circumstances, 
wiiich attended our assignations, and you will confess the 
temptation to have been irresistible : you will even pardon 



THE FEMALE MONK 193 

object of seduction. Judge, then, how I naust tremble at 
the prospect before her ! Judge how anxious I must be to 
keep lier from their society who may excite the yet dormant 
passions of her bosom. You are amiable, Don Lorenzo ; 
Antonia has a susceptible, a loving heart, and is grateful 
for the favors conferred upon us by your interference with 
the marquis. Your presence makes me tremble : I fear lest 
it should inspire her with sentiments whicli may embitter tlie 
remainder of her life, or encourage her to cherish hopes iu 
her situation unjustifiable and futile. Pardon me, when I 
avow my terrors, and let my frankness plead in my excuse. 
I cannot forbid you my house, for gratitude restrains me ; I 
can only throw myself upon your generosity, and entreat 
you to spare the feelings of an anxious, of a doating mother. 
Believe me, when I assure you, that I lament the necessity 
of rejecting your acquaintance ; but there is no remedy, and 
Antonia's interest obliges me to beg you to forbear your 
visits. By complying with my request, you will increase 
the esteem whicli 1 already feel for you, and of which every- 
thing convinces nie that you are tru^y deserving." 

"Your frankness charms me," replied Lorenzo: "you 
shall find that in your favorable opinion of me you were not 
deceived ; yet I hope that the reasons now in my power to 
allege will persuade you to withdraw a request which I can- 
not obey without infinite reluctance. I love your daughter, 
love her most sincerely ; I wish for no greater happiness 
than to inspire her with the same sentiments, and receive 
her hand at the altar as her husband. 'Tis true I am not 
rich rayself^my father's death has left me but little in my 
own possession ; but my expectations justifj' my pretending 
to the Cond6 de las Cisternas' daughter." 

He was proceeding, but Elvira interrupted him, — 
"Ah ! Don Lorenzo, you forget in that pompous title the 
meanness of my origin. You forget that I have now passed 
fourteen ye.'irs in Spain, disavowed by my husband's family, 

EOSAKIO 13 



194 ROSAKio, or; 

and existing upon a stipend barely sufficient for tlie support 
and edncatiou of my daugliter. Xny, I liavo even been 
neglected by most of my ofl-n relations, -who, out of envy, 
affect to doubt the reality of my marriage. My allowance 
being discontinued at my father-in-law's death, T ■s\as re- 
duced to the very brink of want. In this situation I was 
found by my sister, who, amongst all her foibles, p6ssesses 
a warm, generous, and affectionate lieart. She aided me 
with tlie little fortune which my father left her, persuaded 
me to visit Madrid, and has supported my child and myself 
since our quitting Murcia. Then, consider not Antonia as 
descended from the Cond6 de las Cisternas ; consider her as 
a poor and unprotected orphan, and the grandchild of the 
tradesman Torribio Dalfa, as the needy pensioner of that 
tradesman's daughter. Reflect upon the difference between 
such a situation and that of the nephew and heir of the 
potent Duke of Medina. I believe your intentions to be 
honorable ; but as there are no hopes that your uncle will 
approve of the union, I foresee that the conseguence of your 
attachment must be fatal to my child's repose." 

" Pardon me, senora ; you are misinformed if you sup- 
pose the Duke of Medina to resemble the generality of men. 
His sentiments are liberal and disinterested ; 'he loves me 
well, and I hare no reason to dread his forbidding the mar- 
riage, when he perceives that my happiness depends upon 
Antonia. But supposing him to refuse his sanction, what 
have I still to fear ? My parents are no more ; my little 
fortune is in my own possession ; it will be sufficient to sup- 
port Antonia, and I shall exchange for her hand Medina's 
dukedom without one sigh of regret." 

" You are young and eager ; it is natural for you to en- 
tertain such ideas. But experience has taught me, to my 
cost, that.curses accompany an unequal alliance. I married 
the Cond(5 de las Cisternas in opposition to the will of his 
relations ; many a heart-pang has punished me for the im- 



THE FEMALE MONK 19 b 

prudent step. Wherever we lieiit Our course, a fatlier's ejs- 
ecratioii pursued Cioiiziilvo. Poverty overtook us, and no 
friend was near to relieve our wants. Still our mutual 
affection existed, but, alas! not without iuterniption. Ac- 
customed to wealth and ease, ill could my husband support 
the transition to distress and indigence. He looked back 
with repining to the comforts which he once enjoyed He 
regretted the situation which for my sake he had quitted ; 
and, in moments when despair possessed his mind, has re- 
proached me with having made him the companion of want 
and wretchedness. He has called me his bane ! the source 
of his sorrows, the cause of his destruction ! Ah God ! he 
little knew how much keener were my own heart's reproaches ! 
He was ignorant that I suffered trebly — for myself, for nij' 
children, and for him! 'Tis true that his anger seldom 
lasted long ; his sincere affection for me soon revived in his 
heart, and then his repentance for the tears which he had 
made me shed, tortured me even more than his reproaches! , 
He would throw himself on the ground, implore my forgive- 
ness in the most frantic terms, and load himself with curses 
for being the murderer of my repose. Taught by experience, 
that an union contracted against the inclinations of families 
on either side must be unfortunate, I will save my daughter- 
from those miseries which I have suffered. Without your _ 
uncle's consent, while I live, she never shall be yours. Un- 
doubtedly he will disapprove of the union : his power is im- 
mense, and Antonia shall not be exposed to his anger and 
persecution." 

"His persecution? How easily may that be avoided! 
Let the worst happen, it is but quitting Spain. My wealth 
may easily be realized. The Indian islands will offer us a 
secure retreat. I have an estate, though not of value, in 
Hispaniola : thither we will fly, and I shall consider it to be 
my native country, if it gives me Antonia's undisturbed 
possession." 



196 EosARio ; OR, 

"Ah! youth, this is a fond, romantic vision. Gouzalvo 
thought tlie same. He fancied that he could leave Spain 
without regret ; but tiie moment of parting undeceived him. 
You know not yet what it is to quit your native laud : to 
quit it, never to behold it more ! Yon know not what it is 
to exchange the scenes where you have passed your infancy, 
for unknown realms and liarbarons climates ! — to be for- 
gotten, utterly, eternally forgotten by the companions of 
your youth ! — to see youi' dearest friends, the fondest ob- 
jects of your affection, perishing with diseases incidental to 
Indian atmospheres, and find yourself unable to procure for 
tliem necessary assistance ! I have felt all this ! My hus- 
band and two sweet babes found their graves in Cuba; 
nothing would have saved my young Antonia, but my sud- 
den return to Spain . Ah ! Don Lorenzo, could you conceive 
what I suffered during my absence ! Could you know how 
sincej-ely I regretted all that I left behind, and liow dear to 
me was the very name of Spiuin ! I envied the winds whicli 
blew towards it: and when the Spanish sailor chanted some 
well-known air as lie passed along my window, tears filled 
my eyes while I thouglit upon my native land. Gonaalvo 
too — my husband — " 

Elvira paused. Her voice faltered, and she concealed her 
face with her handkerchief. After a short silence she rose 
from the sofa, and proceeded, — 

"Excuse my quitting you for a few moments: the re- 
membrance of what I have suffered has nuich agitated i-ne, 
and I need to be alone." 

The giving a free course to her tears soon relieved Elvira, 
and her spirits regained tlieir usual composure. 

"I have nothing more to say, my lord," said she; "you 
have heard my apprehensions, and my reasons for begging 
you not to repeat your visits. I have f.lu'owu myself in full 
confldenee upon your lienor. I am certain that you will not 
prove my opinion of you to have been too favorable," 



THE FEMALE MONK 197 

" But one qiicslion iiioro, signora, and I leave yon. Sbonld 
the Duke of Medina approve my love, woidd my addresses be 
unacceptable to yoiu'solf and the fair Antonia?" 

" I will be open with yon, Don Lorenzo : there beiiig little 
probability of such an union taking place, I fear that it is 
desired but too ardently by my daughter. You have made 
an impressiou upon her young heart wliich gives me the most 
serious alarm : to pre^•ent that impression from growing 
stronger, I am obliged to decline your acquaintance. For 
me, you may be sure that I should rejoice at establishing 
my child so advantageously. Conscious that my constitution, 
impaired by grief and illness, forbids me to expect a long 
continuance in this world, I tremble at the thought of leav- 
ing her under the protection of a perfect stranger. The 
Marquis de las Cisternas is totally unknown to me. He will 
marry : his lady may look upon Antonia with an eye of dis- 
pleasure, and deprive her of her only friond. Should the 
duke, your uncle, give his consent, you need not doubt ob- 
taining mine and my daughter's ; but, without his, hope not 
for ours. At all events, whatever steps you may take, 
whatever may be the duke's decision, till you know it, let me 
beg your forbearing to strengthen, by your presence, An- 
tonia's prepossession. If the sanction of your relations 
authorizes your addressing her as your wife, my doors Hy 
open to you. If that sanction is refused, be satisfied to 
possess my esteem and gratitude, but remember that we must 
meet no more." 

Lorenzo promised reluctantly to conform to this decree ; but 
he added, that he hoped soon to obtain that consent which 
would give him a claina to the renewal of their acquaintance. 
He then explained Jto her why the marquis had not called in 
person : and made no scruple of confiding to her his sister's 
history. He concluded by saying, " That he hoped to set 
Agnes at liberty the next day ; and that, as soon as Don 
Baymond's fear's were quieted upon this subject, he would 



198 KOSAKIO ; OR, 

lose no time in assuring Donna Elvira of his friendship and 
protection." 

The lady shook her head. 

" I tremble for your sister," said she ; " I have heard many 
traits of the domina of St. Clare's character from a friend 
wlio was educated in the same convent with her : she reported 
lier to be liaughty, inflexible, superstitious, and revengeful. 
I have since heard that she is infatuated wiUi the idea of 
rendering her convent the most regular iir Madrid, and never 
forgave those wliose imprudence threw upon it the slightest 
stain. Thougli naturally violent and severe, when her inter- 
ests require it, she well knows how to assume an appearance 
of benignity. She leaves no means untried to persuade young 
women of rank to become members of her connnunity : she is 
implacable when once incensed, and has too much intrepidity 
to shrink at taking the nibst rigorous measures for punishing 
the offender. Doubtless, she will consider your sister's quit- 
ting the convent as a disgrace thrown upon it ; she will use 
every artifice to avoid obeying the mandate of his holiness ; 
and I shudder to think that Donna Agnes is in the hands of 
this dangerous woman." 

Lorenzo now rose to take leave. Elvira gave him her hand 
at parting, which he kissed respeotfuUy, and, telling her that 
he soon hoped for the permission to salute that of Antonia, 
he returned to his hotel. The lady was perfectly satisfied 
with the conversation which had passed between them ; she 
looked forward with satisfaction to the prospect of his be- 
coming her son-in-law ; but prudence bade her conceal from 
her daughter's knowledge the flattering hopes which herself 
now ventured to entertain. 

Scarcely was it day, and already Lorenzo was at the con- 
vent of St. Clare, furnished with tlie uucessary mandate. 
Tlie nuns were at matins. He waited impatiently for the 
conchision of the service ; and at lengtli the prioress appeared 
ftt the parlor grate. Agnes was demanded. The old lady 



THE FEMALE MONK 199 

replied with a melancholy air, that the dear child's situation 
grew hourly more dangerous ; that the physicians despaired 
of her life ; but tluit they had declared the only chance for 
her recovery to consist in keeping her quiet, and not to per- 
mit those to approach her whose presence was likely to agi- 
tate her. Not a word of all this was believed by Lorenzo, any 
more than he credited the expressions of grief and affection 
for Agnes with which this account was interlarded. To end 
the business, he put the pope's bull into the liands of the do- 
mina, and insisted that, ill or in health, his sister should be 
delivered to him wiMiout delay. 

The prioress received the paper witli an air of humility but 
no sooner had her eye glanced over tlie contents, than her 
resentment btiflled all the efforts of liypocrisy. A deep 
crimson spread itself over her face, and she darted upon 
Lorenzo looks of rage and menace. 

"This order is positive," said she, in a voice of anger, 
which she in vain strove to disguise; " willingly jvould I 
obey it but, unfortunately, it is out of my power." 

Lorenzo interrupted her by an exclamation of surprise. 

" I repeat it, seiior, to obey this order is totally out of my 
power. From tenderness to a brother's feelings, I would 
have communicated the sad event to you by degrees, and 
have prepared you to hear it with fortitude. My measures 
are broken through ; this order commands me to deliver up 
to you the sister Agnes without delay ; I am, therefore, 
obliged to inform you without circumlocution, that on Friday 
last she expired." 

Lorenzo started back with horror, and turned pale. A 
moment's recollection convinced him that this assertion must 
be false, and it restored liim to himself. 

"You deceive me!" said he passionately; "but five 
minutes past you assured me that, thougli ill, she was still 
alive. Produce her this instant ! See her I must and will ; 
9,nd every attempt to keep hev from me will be unavailing." 



200 ' EOSARIO ; OR, 

" You forget yourself, senor ; you owe respect to my age 
as well as my profession. Your sister is no more. If I at 
first concealed her death, it was from dreading lest an event 
so unexpected should produce on you too violent an effect. 
In truth, I am but ill-repaid for my attention. And what 
interest, I pray you, should I have in detaining her? To 
know her wish of quitting our society is a sufBcient reason 
for mc to wish her absence, and think her a disgrace to the 
sisterhood of St. Clare : but she has forfeited my affection in 
a manner yet more culpable. Her crimes were great ; and 
when you know the cause of her death, you will doubtless 
rejoice, Don Lorenzo, that such a wretch is no longer in ex- 
istence. She was taken ill on Thursday last on returning 
from confession in the Capuchin chapel: her malady seemed 
attended with strange cii'cumstances ; but she persisted in 
concealing its cause. Thanks to the Virgin, we were too 
ignorant to suspect it ! ' Judge, then, what must have been 
our consternation, our horror, wlien she was delivered the 
next day of a still-born child, whom she immediately followed 
to the grave. How, senor? Is it possible that your coun- 
tenance expresses no surprise, no indignation ? Is it possible 
that your sister's infamy was known to you, and that still 
she possessed your affection ? In that case, you have no 
need of my compassion. I can say nothing more, except 
repeat my inability of obeying the orders of his holiness. 
Agnes is no more ; and, to convince yon that what I say is 
true, I swenr by our blessed Saviour, that three days have 
passed since she was buried." 

Here she kissed a small crucifix which hung at her girdle : 
she then rose from her chair, and quitted the parlor. As she 
withdrew she cast upon Lorenzo a scornful smile. 

" Farewell, senor," said she ; " I know no remedy for this 
accident. I fear that even a second bull from the pope will 
not procure your sister's resurrection." 

Lorenzo also retired, penetrated with affliction : but Don 



THE FEMALE MONK 201 

Raymond's, on the news of this event, amounted to madness : 
he would not be convincei-l that Agnes was really dead : and 
continued to insist that the walls of St. Clare still confined 
her. No arguments could make him abandon his hopes of 
regaining her. Every day some fresh scheme was invented 
for procuring intelligence of her, and all of them were at- 
tended with the same success. 

On his part, Medina gave up the idea of ever seeing his 
sister more ; yet he believed that she had been taken off by 
unfair means. Under this persuasion, he encouraged Don 
Raymond's researches, determined, should he discover the 
least warrant for his suspicions, to take a severe vengeance 
upon the unfeeling prioress. The loss of his sister affected 
iiim sincei'ely ; nor was it the least cause of his distress, tliat 
propriety obliged him for some time to defer mentioning 
Antonia to the duke. In the meanwhile, his emissaries con- 
stantly surrounded Elvira's door. He had intelligence of all 
the movements of his mistress. As she never failed every 
Thursday to attend the sermon in the Capuchin cathedral, he 
was secure of seeing her once a week ; though, in compliance 
with his promise, he carefully shunned her observation. 
Thus two long months passed away. Still no information 
was procured of Agnes. All but the marquis credited her 
death ; and now Lorenzo determined to disclose his senti- 
ments to his uncle : lie had already dropped some hints of his 
intention to marry : they had been as favorably received as 
he could expect, and he harbored no doubt of the success of 
his application. 



,''^0 





The burst of transport was past : Anibrosio's love was 
satisfied. Pleasure fled, aiid sliauie usurped her seat in his 
bosom. Confused anil terrified at his weakness, his perjurj' 
presented itself before him ; he reflected on the scene wliich 
had just been acted, and trembled at the consequences of a 
discovery ; he looked forward with horror ; his heart was 
despondent, and became the abode of satiety and disgust ; he 
avoided the eyes of his partner in frailty. A melancholy 
silence prevailed, during which both seemed busied with dis- 
agreeable reflections. 

Matilda was the first to break it. She took bis hand 
gently, and pressed it to her burning lips. 

" Ambrosio ! " she murmured, in a soft and trembling voice. 

The abbot started at the sound : he turned his eyes upon 
Matilda's ; they were filled with tears ; her cheeks w ere covered 
with blushes, and her supplicating looks seemed to solicit his 
compassion. 

" Dangerous woman ! " said he ; " into what an abyss oi 
misery have you plunged me ! Should your sex be discovered , 
my honor, nay, my life, must pay lor the pleasure of a few 
moments. Fool that I was, to trust myself to your seduc- 
tions ! AVhat can now be done ? How can my offense be 
expiated ? What ato»en)?ot can purcbpse tUe pardon of my 



THE FEMALE MONK 203 

crime? Wretched Matilda, you Lave destroyed my quiet 
for ever ! " 

"To me these reproaches, Ambrosio? to me who have 
sacrificed for you the, world's pleasures, tlie luxury of wealth, 
the delicacy of sex, my friends, my fortune, and my fame? 
What have you lost which 1 preserved? Have / not shared 
in yoMr guilt? Guilt, did I say? In wjiat consists ours, 
unless in the opinion of an ill-judging world? Let that 
world be ignorant of them, and our joys become divine and 
blameless ! Unnatural were your vows of celiljacy ; man 
was not created for such a state ; and were love a crime, 
God never would have made it so irrisistible ! Then banish 
those clouds from your brow, my Ambrosio. Cease to re- 
proach me with having taught you what is love, and cherish 
with your whole might the woman who adores you ! " 

Intoxicated with passion, the monk no longci- reflected 
with shame upon his incontiuenee, or dreaded the vengeance 
of offended Heaven : his only fear was lest death should 
rob him of his paramour. Matilda was still under the in- 
fluence of poison ; and the monk trembled less for Jiis pre- 
server's life than his concubine's. Deprived of her, he 
would not easily find another mistress with whom he could 
indulge his passions so safely ; he therefore pressed her with 
earnestness to use the means of preservation which she de- 
clared to be in her possession. 

" Yes ! " replied Matilda ; " since you have made me feel 
that life is valuable, I will rescue mine at any rate. No 
dangers shall appal me : I will look upon the consequences 
of my action boldly, nor shudder at the horrors which they 
present : I will think my sacrifice scarcely worthy to pur- 
chase your possession ; and remember that a moment passed 
in your arms in this world, o'er pays an age of punishment 
in the next. But before I take this step, Ambrosio, give 
me your solemn oath never to inquire by what means I shall 
preserve myself."^ 



204 EOSARIO ; OR, 

He did so, in a manner the most binding. 

" I thanlf 3'ou, my beloved. This precaution is necessary ; 
for, though you know it not, you are under tlie command of 
vulgar prejudices. The business on which I must be em- 
ployed this night migiit startle you, from its singularity, and 
lower me in your opinion. Tell me, are you possessed of 
the key of tlie low door on the western side of the garden ? " 

"The door whici) opens into the burying-ground common 
to us and tlie sisterhood of St. Clare? I have not the key, 
but can easily procure it." 

"You have only this to do. Admit me jnto the burying- 
ground at midnight. "Watch while I descend into the vaults 
of St. Clare, lest some prying eye should observe my actions. 
Leave me there alone for an hour, and that life is safe which 
I dedicate to your pleasure. To prevent creating suspicion, 
do not visit me during the day. Remember the key, and 
that I expect you before twelve. Hark ! I hear steps ap- 
proaching 1 Leave me ; I will pretend to sleep." 

The friar obeyed, and left the cell. As he opened the 
door. Father Pablos made his appearance. 

" I come,'' said the latter, " to inquire after the health of 
my young patient." 

"Hush!" replied Ambrosio, laying his finger upon liis 
lip ; " speak softly ; I am just come from him ; he has fallen 
into a profound slumber, which doubtless will be of service , 
to him. Do not disturb him at present, for he wishes to 
repose." , 

Father Pablos obeyed, and, hearing the bell ring, accom- 
panied the abbot to matins. Ambrosio felt embarrassed as 
he entered the chapel . Guilt was new to him, and he fancied 
tliat every eye could I'ead the transactions of the night upon 
' his countenance. He strove to pray ; his bosom no longer 
glowed with devotion ; his thoughts insensibly wandered to 
Matilda's secret charms. But what he wanted in purity of 
heart, he supplied by exterior sanctity. The better to cloak 



THE FEMALE MONK 205 

his transgression, he redoubled his pretensions to the sem- 
blance of virtue, and never appeared more devoted to Heaven 
than since he had broken through his engagements. Tlius 
did he unconsciously add hypocrisy to perjury and incon- 
tinence ; he had fallen into the latter errors from yielding to 
seduction almost irresistible ; but he was now guilty of a 
voluntary fault, by endeavoring to conceal those into which 
another had betrayed him. 

The matins concluded, Ambrosio retired to his cell. The 
pleasures which he had just tasted for the first time were 
still impressed upon his mind ; his brain was bewildered, 
and presented a confused chaos of remorse, voluptuousness, 
inquietude, and fear ; he looked back with regret to that 
peace of soul, that security of virtue, which till then had 
been his portion ; he had indulged- in excesses whose very 
idea, but four-and-twenty liours before, he had recoiled at 
with horror ; he shuddered at reflecting that a trifling indis- 
cretion on his part, or on Matilda's, would overturn that 
fabric of reputation which it had cost him thirty years to 
erect, and render him the abhorrence of tiiat people of whom 
he was then the idol. Conscience painted to him in glaring 
colors his perjury and weakness ; apprehension magnified to 
him the horrors of punishment, and he already fancied him- 
self m the prisons of the Inquisition. To these tormenting 
ideas succeeded Matilda's beauty, and those delicious lessons, 
which once learnt can never be forgotten.' A single glance 
tlu-own upon these reconciled him with himself ; he consid- 
ered the pleasures of the former night to have been pur- 
chased at an easy price by the sacrifice of innocence and 
honor. Their very remembrance filled liis soul with ecstacy ; 
he cursed his foolish vanity, which had induced him to waste 
in obscurity the bloom of life, ignorant of the blessings of 
love and woman ; he determined, at ail events, to continue 
his commerce with Matilda, and called every argument to 
his aid which might confirm his resolution ; he asked him- 



206 ROSARio ; OR, 

self, provided his irregularity was unknown, in what would 
his fault consist, and what consequences lie liad to appre- 
hend ? By adhering strictly to every rule of liis order save 
chastity, he doubted not to retain the esteem of men, aad 
even the pi'otection of Iieaven ; he trusted easily to be for- 
given so slight and natural a deviation from his vows ; but 
he forgot that, having pionounced tliose vows, incontinence, 
in laymen tlie most venial of eiToi'S, became in his [person 
the most heinous of crimes. 

Once decided upou his future conduct, his mind became 
more easj' : lie threw, himself upon his bed, and strove by 
sleei)ing to recruit his strength, exhausted by his nocturnal 
excesses. He awoke refreshed, and eager for a repetition 
of his pleasures. Obedient to Matilda's order, he visited 
not her cell during the day. Fatiier Pablos mentioned in 
tiie refectoiy that Rosario had at length been prevailed npon 
to follow his prescription, but thiit the medicine had not 
produced the slightest effect, and that he believed no mortal 
skill could rescue him from the grave. With this opinion 
the abbot agreed, and affected to lament the untimely fate 
of a youth whose talents appeared so promising. 

The night arrived. Ambrosio had taken care to procure 
from tlie porter the key of the low door opening into the 
cemetery. P'urnished with this, when all was silent in the 
monastery, he quitted his cell, and hastened to Matilda's. 
She had left her bed, and was dressed before his arrival. 

" I have been expecting you with impatience," said she ; 
" my life depends upon these moments. Have you the 
key?," 

" I have." 

"Away then to the garden. We have no time to lose. 
. -Follow me ! " 

She tools: a small covered basket from the table. Bearing 
this in one hand, and the lamp, which was flaming upon the 
hearth, in the other, she hastened from the cell. Ambrosio 



THE FEMALE MONK 207 

followed her. Both niuintaiiied a profound silence. She 
moved on with quick but cautious steps, passed through the 
cloisters, and reached tlio western side of the garden : her 
eyes flashed with a fire and wildness whicli impressed tlie 
monk at once with awe and horror. A determined desperate 
courage reigned upon her brow : slie gave the lamp to Am- 
brosio ; then taking from him the key, she unlockeil the low 
door, and entered the cemetery. It was a vast and spacious 
square, planted with yew-trees ; half of it belonged to the 
abbey, the other half was the property of tlie sisterhood of 
St. Clare, and was protected by a roof of stone : the division 
was marked by an ii'on railing, the wicket of which was gen- 
erally left unlocked. 

Thither Matilda bent her course ; she opened the wicket, 
and sought for the door leading to the subterraneous vaults 
where reposed the mouldering bodies of the votaries of St. 
Clare. The night was perfectly dark ; neither moon nor 
stars were visible. Luckily there was not a breath of wind, 
and the friar bore his lamp in full security : by the assistance 
of its beams, the door of the sepulchre was soon discovered. 
It was sunk within the hollow of a wall, and almost con- 
cealed by thick festoons of ivy hanging over it. Three 
steps of rough-hewn stone conducted to it, and Matilda was 
on the point of descending them, where she suddenly started 
back. 

" There are people in the vaults ! " she whispered to the 
monk ; " conceal yourself till they are passed." 

She took refuge behind a lofty and magnificent tomb, 
erected in honor of the convent's foundress. Ambrosio fol- 
lowed her example, carefully hiding his lamp, lest its beams 
should betray them. But a few moments had elapsed when 
the door was pushed open leading to the subterraneous 
caverns. Rays of light proceeded up the staircase : they 
enabled the concealed spectators to observe two females 
dressed in religious habits, who seemed engaged in earnest 



208 EOSAEIO ; OR, 

conversation. The abbot had no difflculty to recognize the 
prioress of St. Clare in the first, and one of tlie elder nung 
in her companion. 

"Everything is prepared," said the prioress; ".her fate 
sjiall be decided to-morrow ; all her tears and sigjis will be 
unavailing. No ! In five-and-twenty years tliat 1 have 
been superior of this convent, never did I witness a trans- 
action more infamous?" 

" You must expect much opposition to your will," the 
other replied, in a milder voice ; " Agnes has many friends 
in the convent, and in particular tjie mother St. Ursula will 
espouse her cause most wfirmly. In truth, she merits to 
have friends; and I wish I could prevail upon, you to con- 
sider her youth and her peculiar situation. She seems 
sensible of her fault ; the excess of her grief proves her 
penitence, and I am convinced that her tears flow more fi'om 
contrition than fear of punishment. Reverend mother, 
would you be persuaded to mitigate the severity of your 
sentence ; would you but deign to overlook this first trans- 
gression ; I offer myself as the pledge of her future conduct." 

" Overlook it, say you ! Mother Camilla, you amaze me ! 
What? after disgracing me in the presence of Madi'id's idol, 
of the, very man on whom I most wished to impress an idea 
of the strictness of my discipline ? How despicable must I 
have appeared to the reverend abbot! No,'niotlier, no ! I 
never can forgive tlie insult. I cannot better convince Am- 
brosio that I abhor such crimes than by punishing tliat of 
Agnes with all the rigor of which our severe laws admit. 
Cease then your supplications, tliey will all be unavailing. 
My resolution is taken. To-morrow Agnes shall be made a 
terrible example of my justice and resentment." 

The mother Camilla seemed not to give up the point, but 
• by this time tiie nuns were out of hearing. The prioress un- 
locked the door whi«h communicated with St. Clare's chapel, 



THE mrALE JtojfK Z'V 

and faaTing firt«rfe<l •»-;•:. . -r (^Hupaautm, ^medn again a't^r 
tiitm. 

.'•li- . . iKrtr i^iuA. who tra* tli^ A-i:.-r- with whom '.'.- 
■\,!-'/,:--.v-. vt:-. ttoK hMceBStA, and what CMnnectiroa ste eouW 
haver with A::Jjim:o. Hie r: Vr, her ;- .^rj^tur*:; and bt 
aiiiSfA, t;i4.t innee that tir^ft bis ideas „..-.-!;j^ .-.Af-.rzh'Uh % 
V.^.y/y^.. rerolatioo. he now frh miKfa (rifftf^t^seyaa. for the 
vnU/rtanaite mm. 

■■I '^^-'i-,. ." said he, ••"/j' request an aadjenee of the 
<yr.:..:Jx Vr-jj.'jmwr, awl jv; erery ...'-.-/- of '^'Vi - -;,i' a 
r.'-.*,2';*.'o.. of lier sefitftmee," 

••ij^Krf..,-.: <,r irliat yoo do," fOttittnyikA Mt.*.'>]a: ••yomr 
eudden eh -.^'-r of eentiruent utay i^^taraily create surprise, 
aud imay g^"'; Mr.^; to r'i^pldojjr wlikii it is Tiioet oar inter- 
est to aroid^ li,',.- rwlo«W*r yonr outward aosterity, and 
tf,Muder out ly.h'.Ai-h-. '-z'J.:,-'. '.'u'-. errors of otliers, tte 'r.-ett<ir 
to csOBceal your own- ArawViu tl»e nun to her ffetr. Your 
'.:y.'-j'^':r :-2 - i ' he -_• ', . an*! her hiqtrwlnnee merits 
to I)* ;y;i,;-;.-r'' ; sJie fe unworthy t^> enjoy love's pkaearee, 
who bae not wit «;ijo<j^;j to c>om«*al iL*:!/,. Jiut in '3:v:ti*iitig 
tbi« * . :: ..i' suljject, I wa»te nwinents whicii are {Aecicms. 
1 ;.^ nigtit 5? ''r^ apaee, and n*iii«t he <k«ie before .'.c.-T.I.'.g. 
'J ;. : rrans are retire'!, all i» safe- Gi'.': nie tlie lamp, Am- 
Yjrtmo. i rnusft 'lev.-ercl alone into theste csivi^njs : wait here, 
and if anyone aj^roael»e« warn me hy your voir* : but a» 
yon value your 'rx:*t/;ij'>'r. yitasmsan not to follow toe : your 
life would fall a rictirn to your irnj/nident curiosity-" 

'II. 'JA -.k-j.-./j.. srfie 9A\ikw*A Uf^KtiT-'-. th-, sepulchre, still 
hokling her lam{> in one tiawl, and ltf:T little Ijasket in the 
other. She t^^id*e'l tJje door: it fjmed slowly np«i its 
'./r! ' .'.'i ..'-'./J.--.-, and a narrow v.:r.'iiri;/ staircase of V>lack 
marble present*^! itself to lier eyes. S . ; deaceaded it ; Am- 
hro»io rCToained aVyvt. v,feV:ij;tij^ the faint beams of the 
lamp, ais th'y still rer^rhwl 'V>wn the -tiiiR. They disap- 
pearerL and lie found himself in total darkness. 

BOSAJilO 14 



210 ROSARIO ; OR, 

Left to himself, he could not reflect without surprise on 
the sudden change iu Miitildu's character nnd sentiments. 
But a few days had passed since she appeared the mildest 
and softest of her sex, devoted to his will, and looking up 
to him as to a superior being. Now she assumed a sort of 
courage and manliness in her manners and discourse, but ill 
calculated to please him. She spolcc no longer to insinuate, 
but command : he found himself unable to cope with her in 
ai-gument, and was unwillingly obliged to confess the su- 
periority of her judgment. Every moment convinced him 
of the astonishing powers of her mind ; but what she gnined 
in the opinion of tlie man, she lost with interest in the affec- 
tion of tlie lover. He regretted Rosario, the fond, the 
gentle, and submissive ; lie grieved that ISratilda preferred 
tlie virtues of his sex to those of her own ; and wlien he 
thought of her expressions respecting the devoted nun, lie 
could not help blaniiiig them as cruel and unfeminiue. Pily 
is a sentiment so natural, so appropriate to the female char- 
acter, that it is scarcely a merit for a woman to possess it, 
but to be without it i^ a grievous crime. Ambrosio could 
not easily forgive his mistress for being deficient in this 
amiable quality. However, though he blamed her insensi- 
bility, he felt the truth of her observations ; and though he 
pitied smcerely the unfortunate Agnes, lie resolved to drop 
the idea of interposing in lier behalf. 

Near an hour luid elapsed since Matilda descended into 
the caverns ; still she returned not. Anibrosio's curiosity 
was excited. He drew neiir the stiiireaso — he listened — all 
was silent, except that at intervals lie caught the sound of 
]Miitild;\'s voice, as it wound along the subterraneous pas- 
sages, and was re-echoed by the sepulchre's viuill-ed roofs. 
She was at too great a distance for him to distinguisli her 
words, and ere they reached him, they were deadened into a 
low iiiuriTiu#. He longed to penetrate into this mystery. He 
resolved to disobey her injunctions, and follow her into the 



THE FEMALE MONK 211 

cavern. He advanced to the staircase ; lie bad already 
descended some steps, when bis courage failed bim. He 
remembei'ed Matilda's menaces if he infringed her orders, 
and bis bosom was fliled with a secret unaccountable awe. 
He returned up the stairs, resumed bis former station, and 
waited impatiently for the conclusion of this adventure. 

Suddenly be was sensible of a violent shock. An earth- 
quake rocked the ground, tbe columns wbicb supported the 
roof under which be stood were so strongly shaken that 
every moment menaced bim with its fall, and at the same 
moment be beard a loud and tremendous burst of thunder ; 
it ceased, and bis eyes being fixed upon the staircase, be 
saw a bright column of light flash along the caverns beneath. 
It was seen but for an instant. No sooner did it disappear, 
than all was once more quiet and obscure. Profound dark- 
ness again surrounded him, and tbe silence of night was 
only broken by the whirring bat as she flitted slowly by 
him. 

With every instant Ambrosio's amazement increased. 
Another hour elapsed, after which the same light again ap- 
peared, and was lost again as suddenly. It was accom- 
panied by a strain of sweet but solemn music, which, as it 
stole through the vaults below, inspired tbe monk with 
mingled delight and terroi'. It had not long been bushed, 
when he beard Matilda's steps upon the staircase. She 
ascended from the cavern ; tbe most lively joy animated her 
beautiful features. 

"Did you see anything?" she asked. 

"Twice I saw a column of light flash up the staircase." 

"Nothing else?" 

"Nothing.". 

" The morning is on tbe point of breaking, let us retire to 
tbe abbey, lest dayligiit should betray us." 

With a ligbt step siie liastened from the burying-ground. 
She regained her cell, and tbe curious abbot still accom- 



212 RosAuio ; OK, 

panied her. Sliu cIoscmI tlic door, .'uid diseiiilisirrassed lier- 
self of lior lamp and basket. 

" I have succeeded ! " she cried, throwing lierself upon his 
bosom ; " succeeded beyond my fondest Iiopes ! I sliail live, 
Ambrosio, shall live for you ! tht; step, which I shuddered at 
taking, proves to me a sonrce of joys inexpressible ! Oh ! 
that I dare communicate those joys to yon ! Oil ! that I 
were permitted to share with you my power, and raise you 
as high above the level of your sex, as one bold deed has 
exalted me above mine ! " 

" And what prevents yon, Matilda ? " interrupted the fi'iar. 
" Why is your business in the cavern made a secret? Do 
you think me undeserving of your conlidcnce? Matilda, I 
must doubt the trnth of your affection, while you have joys 
in which I am forbidden to share." 

"Yon reproach me witii iiijnstice ; I grieve sincerely that 
I am obliged to conceal from you my happiness : but I am 
not to blame ; the fault lies not in me, but in yourself, my 
Ambrosio. You are still too much the monk ; your mind is 
enslaved by the prejudices of education ; and superstition 
might niiike you shudder a,t the idea of that which experience 
has taught me to prize and vidue. At ]iresent you are unfit 
to be trusted with a secret of such importance; but the 
strength of your judgment, and the curiosity which I rejoice 
to see sparkling in your eyes, makes me hope that you will 
one day desei-ve my confidence. Till that period arrives, 
restrain your impatience. Remember that you have given 
me your soleiim oath, never to inquire into this night's ad- 
ventures. I insist upon your keeping this oatii ; for, though," 
slie added, smiling, while she sealed his 11]^ with a kiss, 
" though I foi'give you breaking your vows to Heaven, I ex- 
pect your keeping your vows to me." 

Tlio friar returned the embrace, and they separated not till 
the bell rang for matins. 

The monks rejoiced in the feigned Rosario's uni'xpccted 



THE FEMALE MONK. 213 

recovery, and none of them suspected his real sex. The 
abbot possessed his mistress in tranquillity, and pei'ceiving 
his frailty unsuspected, abandoned himself to his passions in 
full security. Shame and remorse no longer tormented him. 
In these sentiments he was encouraged by Matilda ; but ske 
soon was aware that her charms bccomii>g acenstomed to him, 
they ceased to excite the same desires wliicli at fii'st they had 
inspired. The delirium of passion being past, hcliad leisure 
to observe every trifling defect ; where )<one were to be found, 
satiety made him fancy them. A week had scarcely escaped, 
before he was wearied of his paramour and his huinor nat- 
urally inconstant, made him sigh impatiently for viuiety. 

Possession, which cloys man, only incre:\ses the affection 
of women. Matilda with CA'ery succeeding day giew more 
attached to the friar. Unfortunately as her passion grew 
ardent, Ambrosio's grew cold ; Matilda could not but remark 
that her society seemed to him daily less agreeable ; he was 
inattentive wliile she spoke ; her musical talents, winch she 
possessed in perfection, had lost the power of amusing him ; 
or if he deigned to praise them, Jiis compliments were evi- 
dently forced and cold. He no longer gazed upon her with 
affection, or applauded her sentiments with a lover's partiality. 
This Matilda well perceived, and redoubled her efforts to 
revive those sentiments which he once had felt. She could 
not but fail, since he considered as importunities, the pains 
which she took to please him, and was disgusted by the very 
means which she used to recall the wanderei-. Still, however, 
their illicit commerce contiimed ; but it was clear that he was 
not led to her arms by love, for, in spite of her beauty, he 
gazed upon every other female with more desire ; but fearing 
that this hypocrisy should be made public, he confined his 
inclinations to his own breast. 

It was by no means his nature to be timid : but his educa- 
tion had impressed his mind with fear so strongly, that 
apprehension was now become part of his character. Had 



214 ROSAKIO ; OR, 

his youth been passed in liie world, he would have shown 
himself posst'ssed of nuiny brilliant and manly qualities. He 
was naturally enti'r[)rising, firm, and fearless: he had a war- 
rior's heart, and he niijilit liavc shone with splendor at the 
Iiead of an army. Thci-e was no want of "generosity in his 
nature : the Avretehed never failed to find in him a com- 
passionate auditor: his abilities were quick and shining, and 
his jndgment vast, solid and decisive. With such qualifica- 
tions he would have lieen an ornament to his country: that 
he possessed tlieni he had given proofs in his earliest infancy, 
and liis parents had belield his dawning virtues with the 
fondest delight and admiration. Unfortunately, while yet a 
cliild, he was deprived of those parents. He fell into the 
power of a relation, whose oidy wish about him was never to 
hear of him more : for that purpose he gave him in charge to 
his friend, the former superior of the Capuchins. The abbot, 
a very monk, used all his endeavors to persuade the bpy that 
happiness existed not without tlie walls of a convent. He 
succeeded fully. To deserve admittance into the order of 
St. Francis was Ambrosio's highest ambition. His instruc- 
tors carefully repressed those virtues, whose grandeur and 
disinterestedness were ill suited to the cloister. Instead of 
universal benevolence, he adopted a selfish partiality for his 
own particular establishment: he was taught to consider 
compassion for the errors of others as a crime of the blackest 
dye : the noble frankness of his temper was exchanged for 
servile humility ; and in order to break his natural spirit, the 
monks terrified his young mind, by placing before him all 
the horrors with which superstition could furnish them ; they 
painted to him the torments of the damned in colors the 
most dark, terrible, and fantastic, and threatened him at the 
slightest fault with eternal p(M-dition. No wonder that his 
imagination constantly dwelling upon these fearful objects 
should have rendered his charactt'r timid and apprehensive. 
Add to this, that his long absence from the great world, 



TUB VBWALR MONK 215 

ivad total uuttcqunintftiioo with tlw coimuou daugei's of life, 
made him form of theju lui idea fiu' utoi-e dlaniul thuu Ute 
reftlity. While the uiouks wore buaiod hi rooting out his 
virtues, and narrowing his spiitiuu'iitK, tlicy utlowed uvery 
vice which had fallen to his shiuv l,o nriivc at full porlVctiou. 
lie was suflVrod to be pi'oiul, vain, ambitious, and disdainful : 
ho was joalons of his cquids, and dospisod idl nioril but his 
own: he was implacable when otfcndcd, and cruel in his 
rcvcuiio. Still, iu spite of (he pains tnkcu to pervert them, 
his natural uiKid qualities wouUl oceasionidly lircak through 
the ii'looni cast over tlieni so carefully. At such times the 
contest for superiority hctweou his real and aeipiired charac- 
ter was sfrilviug ami un;iecouutable to those unacquainted 
with his original disposition. He i)rouounced tlie most 
severe sentences upon offenders, which the moment after 
compassion induced liini to mitigate: he imdertoolc the most 
daring enterprises, which the fear of their ciuisequeuces soon 
obliged him (o ali;indou! his inborn genius darted a brilli:int 
light upon sulijecls the most obscure; and almost instan- 
taneously his superstition rcplunged lhen\ in darkness more 
profound than that from which they had just been rescued. 
His brother monks, regarding him ;is a superior being, re- 
marked not this contradiction in their idoTs conduct. They 
were persuaded that what he did nuist be right, and supposed 
him to have good reasiuis for changing liis resulutions. The 
fact was, that Ihc dilfeient sentiments with wliit'U edneatum 
and nature iiad inspired hin\, were combating iu his bosom : 
it remained for his passions, which as yet no opportunity 
had cidled into play, to decide the victory. Infortunately 
his passions were the very worst judges to whom he could 
possibly have applied. His monastic seclusion had till now 
been in his favor, since it gave hin> no room for discovering 
his bad qualities. The superiority of his talents r:dsiHl him 
'oo far abi>ve his companions ki permit his being jealous of 
them; his exemplary piety, persuasive eloquence, :\nd pleas 



216 K08AETO ; OE, 

ing manners had secured him universal eHtcetn, and fonsc- 
quently he had no injm'ies to revenge; hiw ambition was 
justified by liis acknowledged merit, and his pride coiiHideied 
as no more than proper confidence. Me ncvi'i- saw, mucli 
less conversed with the other sex ; he was igiiomnt of the 
pleasures in woman's power to bestow; and if h<; read in 
the course of his studies 

" That men wen; fonil, he Kmllcd, and wondered how," 

For a time spare diet, frequent watching, and severe pen- 
ance cooled and repressed the natural wnrmf h of iiis constitu- 
tion ; but no sooner did opportunity i)rc,sent itself, no soomtr 
did he catch a glimpse of joy to wliich lie was still a stnmgctr, 
than religion's barriers were too feeble to reHJst tlie over- 
whelming torrent of liis (hisires. All impediinc^nts yieldeil 
before the force of his temperament, warm, sanf^uine, and 
voluptuous in the excess. As yet his other passions lay 
dormant ; but they only needed to be once awakened, to 
display themselves with violence as greiit and irresiMtilile. 

He continued to be the admiration of Madrid. The en- 
thusiasm created by liis elo(jiience seemed ratlier to increase 
than diminish. Every 'I'hiirsday, which was the only day 
when he appeared in publie, the (';i|)iichin cathedral was 
crowded with auditors, and his rligcoiirwi' was always ieceive<l 
with the same approbation, lie was nained eonfesKor to all 
the chief families in Madiiil ; and no one was eounteil fashion- 
able who was enjoined itenance by any oilier ihan Ambrosio. 
In his resolution of never stirrinj^ out of liis convent he still 
persisU^d. This circumstfuiee (-rented a still gieater opinion 
of his sanctity and self-denial. Above all, the women sang 
forth liis praises loudly, less inflneiieed by devotion flian by 
his noble countenance, majestie air, :ind well-hii-ned trraceful 
fij^iirc. The abbey door w.'is thronged will) cMnia^^cH from 
morning to night; and the noblesi nnd fairest "lames of 
Madrid confessed to the abbot their secret, peccadilloes. 
The eyes of the luxurious friar devoured their charms. Had 



THE FEMALE MONK 217 

his penitents consulted those interpreters, he would have 
needed no other means of expressing his desires. For his 
misfoitune, they were so strongly persuaded of his continence- . 
that the possibility of his harboring indecent thooghts never 
once entered their imaginations. The climate's heat, 'tis well 
known, oj)erate3 with no small influence upon the constitu- 
tions of the Spanish ladies ; but the most abandoned would 
have thought it an easier task to inspire with passion the 
marble statue of St. Francis than the cold and rigid heart of 
the immaculate Ambrosio. 

On his part, the friar was little acquainted with the de- 
pravity of the world : he suspected not that but few of his 
penitents would have rejected his addresses. Yet had he 
been better instnicted on this head, the danger attending 
such an attempt would have sealed up his lips in silence. He 
knew that it woidd be difficult for a woman to keep a secret 
so strange and so important as liisfrsulty; and he even 
trembled, lest Matilda should betray him. ^Viixious to pre- 
sen'e a reputation which was infinitely dear to liiii], he saw 
all the risk of committing it to the power of some vain giddy 
female ; and as the beauties of M.idrid affeeted only his 
senses without touching his heart, he forgot them :is soon as 
they were out of liis sight. The danger of discovery, the 
fear of being repulsed, the loss of reputation, :dl these con- 
siderations counselled him to stifle his desires : and though 
he now felt for it the most perfect indifferenee, he was 
necessitated to confine himself to Matilda's [)ers<ji]. 

One morning, the confluence of penitents was greater than 
usual. He was detained in the confessional chair till a late 
hour. At lengtii the oowd was despatched, and he prepared 
to quit the chapel, when two females entered and drew near 
him with humility. 'Fhey d re w up their veils, and the youngest 
entreated him to listen to her for a few moments. The melody 
of lier voice, of that voice to which no man ever listened with- 
out interest, immediately caught Ambrosio's attention. He 



218 RosAiiio, OK ; 

8topi»^(l. Tlio pcUtioiiev set'iin'd bowed down witli affliclion : 
licr checks were i)!ile, lu^r tycs diinined witli ti'iirs, and licr 
liidr fell in disorder over her face and bosom. Still her 
countenance was so sweet, so innocent, so heavenly, as 
might have chaniicd a heart U:n» susceplibh^ than that whieli 
panted in the abbot's bre;ist. Witl) more than usual softness 
of manner lie desired her U> pi'oceed, an<l heard her speak 
as follows, with an emotion which ind'easeii every moment. 

" ]?(^veiend fathei, you see an unfortunate thi'eaU^ned witjl 
tiie loHH of her dearest, of almost ln'r only fiiend ! My 
motiier, my excellent mother, lies upon the bed of sickness. 
A sudden and dreadful malady seized her last night, and so 
rapid has been its progress that the physicians despaii- of her 
life, lluiiiiin aid fails me; nothiiif^ remains for me but to 
implon; th(^ merey of heaven. Father^ all Madrid rings with 
the repoit of your piety and virtue. Deign to remember njy 
mother in your ])ra,yeiH : perliaps they may jjrevail on the 
Almighty to .si)ar(! her ; and should that lie the ease, I enj^^nge 
myself every Thursday in the next tlirei^ months to illuminaie 
the shrine of St. Francis in his honor." 

" So ! " thought the monk ; " here we have a second Viii- 
eentio (lella, Konda. Rosario's adventure began thus;" and 
h(i wished secretly that this might liav(t the Sana; conelu- 
sioii. 

lie a(^eed(ul to the request. The petitioner returned him 
thanks with every mark of gratitude, and then con- 
tinued, — 

" I have yet another favor to ask. We arc strangers in 
Madrid : my mother needs a confessor ami knows not to 
whom she should apply. We understand that you never 
quit the abbey, and, alas ! my poor mother is unable to come 
hither; if you would have the goodness, reverend father, to 
name a proper jierson, whose wise and pious consolations 
may soften the agonies of my parent's deathbed, you will 
confer an everlasting favor upon hearts not ungrateful." 



THE FEMALE MONK 219 

With tliis petition also tlie monk complied. Indeed, what 
petition -would he have refused, if urged in such enchanting 
accents? The suppliant was so interesting ! her voice was 
so sweet, bo harmonious ! Her very tears became her, and 
iier affliction seemed to add new lustre to her charms. He 
promised to send to her a confessor that same evening, and 
begged her to leave her address. The companion pre- 
sented him with a cnrd on which it was written, and then 
withdrew with the fair petitioner, who pronounced before her 
departure a thousand benedictions on the abbot's goodness. 
His eyes followed her out of the chapel. It was not till she 
was out of sight that he examined the card, on which he read 
the following words : — 

" Donna Elvira Dalfa, strada di San lago, four doors from 
the palace d'Albornos." 

The suppliant was no other than Antonia, and Leonella 
was her companion. The latter had not consented without 
difficulty to accompany her niece to the abbey : Ambrosio 
liad inspired her with such awe, that she trembled at the 
very sight of him. Her fears liad conquered even her nat- 
ural loquacity, and while in his presence she uttered not a 
single syllable. 

The monk retired to his cell, whither he was pursued by 
Antonia's image. He felt a thousand new emotions spring- 
ing in his bosom, and he trembled to examine into the cause 
which gave them birtli. They were totally different from 
those inspired by Matilda, when sh': first declared her sex 
ind her affection. He felt not the provocation of Inst ; no 
voluptuous desires rioted in his bosom ; nor did a burning 
imagination picture to him the charms which modesty had 
veiled from his eyes. On the contrary, what he now felt 
was a mingled sentiment of tenderness, admiration, and re- 
spect. A soft and delicious melancholy infused itself into 
his soul, and he would not have exchanged it for the most 
lively transports of joy. Society now disgusted him: he 



220 ROSARIO ; OR, 

delighted in solitude, which permitted his indulging the visions 
of fancy: his thoughts were all gentle, sad, and soothing; 
and the whole wide world presented him with no other ob- 
ject than Antonia. 

" Happy man ! " he exclaimed, in his romantic enthusiasm, 
" happy man, who is destined to possess the heart of that 
lovely girl ! what delicacy in her features ! what elegance in 
her form ! how enchanting was the timid innocence of her 
eyes! and how different from the wanton expression, the 
wild luxurious Are, which sparkles in Matilda's ! oil ! sweeter 
must one kiss be, snatched from the rosy lips of the first, 
than all the full and lustful favors bestowed so freely by the 
second. Matilda gluts me with enjoyment even to loathing, 
forces me to her arms, apes the harlot, and glories in her 
prostitution. Disgusting ! Did she know the inexpressible 
charm of modest}', how irresistiWy it enthrals the heart of 
man, how firmly it chains him to the throne of beauty, she 
never would have thrown it off. "What would be too dear a 
price for this lovely girl's affections? What would I refuse 
to sacrifice, could I be released from my vows, and per- 
mitted to declare my love in the sight of earth and heaven? 
While I strove to inspire her with tenderness, with friend- 
ship and esteem, how tranquil and undisturbed would the 
hours roll away ! Gracious God ! to see her blue downcast 
eyes beam upon mine with timid fondness ! to sit for days, 
for years, listening to that gentle voice ! to acquire the right 
of obliging her, and hear the artless expressions of her 
gratitude ! to watch the amotions of her spotless heart ! to 
encourage each dawning virtue ! to share in her joy when 
happy, to kiss away her tears when distressed, and to see 
her fly to my arms for comfort and support ! Yes ; if there 
is perfect bliss on eartii, 'tis Jiis lot alone who becomes that 
angel's husband." 

While liis fancy coined these ideas, he paced his cell with 
a disordered air. His eyes were fixed upon vacancy : his 



THE FEMALE MONK 221 

head reclined upon his shoulder : a tear rolled down his 
cheek, while he reflected that the vision of happiness for him 
could never be realized. 

"She is lost to me;" he continued, " by marriage she 
cannot be mine ; and to seduce such innocence, to use the 
confidence reposed in me to work her ruin — Oh ! it would 
be a crime, blacker than yet the world ever witnessed ! 
Fear not, lovely girl ! your virtue runs no risk from me. 
Not for Indies would I make that gentle bosom know the 
tortures of remorse. 

Again he paced -his chamber hastily. Then stopping, his 
eye fell uj)on the picture of his once-admired Madona. He 
tore it with indignation from the wall : he threw it on the 
ground, and spurned it from him with his foot. 

"The prostitute!" 

Unfortunate Matilda ! her paramour for'got that, for his 
sake alone, she had forfeited her claiMi to virtue ; and his 
only reason for despising her was, that she loved him much 
too well. 

He tin'ew himself into a chair, which stood near the tatfte. 
He saw the card with Elvira's address. He took it up, and 
it brouglit to his recollection liis promise respecting a con- 
fessor. He passed a few minutes in doubt : but Antonia's 
empire over him was already too much decided to permit his 
making a long resistance to tlie idea which struck him. He 
resolved to be the confessor himself. He could leave the 
abbey unobserved without difficulty : by wrapping up his 
liead in his cowl he hoped to pass through the streets with- 
out being recognized : by taking these precautious, and by 
recommending secrecy to Elvira's family, he doubted not to 
keep Madrid in ignorance that he had broken his vow never 
to see the outside of the abbey walls. Matilda was the only 
person whose vigilance he dreaded : but by informing lier at 
the refectory, that during the whole of that day business 
would confine him to his cell, he thought liimself secure 



222 EOSARio ; or, 

from her waJceful jealousy. Accordiugly, at the hours when 
the Spaniards are iieuerally taking their siesta, he veutiired 
to quit the abbey by a private tloor, the key of which was in 
his possession. Tlie cowl of his habit was thrown over his 
face: from the heat of the weather tiie streets were almost 
totally deserted : the monk iiiet with few people, found the 
strada di San lago, and arrived without accident at Donna 
Elvira's door. He rang, was admitted, and immediately 
ushered into an upper apartment. 

It was here that he ran the greatest risk of a discovery. 
Had Leonella been at home, she would have reeoguized him 
directly. Her comiminieative disposition would never have 
permitted her to rest, till all ]\[adrid was informed that Am- 
brosio hail ventured out of the abbey, and visited her sister. 
Fortune here stood the monk's friend. On Leonella's return 
home, slie found a letter instructing her, that a cousin was 
just dead, who had left what little he possessed between her- 
self and Elvira. To secure this bequest she was obliged to 
set out for Cordova without losing a moment. Amidst all 
her foibles, her heart was truly warm and affi'ctionato, and 
she was unwilling to quit her sister in so dangerous a state. 
But Elvira insisted upon her taking tlie journey, conscious 
that in her daughter's forlorn siliiatiou, no increase of foi"- 
tune, however tvitling, ought to be neglected. Accordingly 
Leonella left ^Madrid, sincerely grieved at lier sister's ill- 
ness, and giving some few siglis to the memory of the 
amiable but inconstant Don C'hristoval. Siie was fully 
persuadeil tliat, at lirst, she had made a terrible breach 
in his heart ; but hearing nothing more of him, she sup- 
posed tliat he had quitted llie pursuit, disgusted by the 
lowness of her origin, and knowing upon other terms than 
marriage he had nothing to hope from sneh a dragon of 
virtue as she professed herself; or else, that being naturally 
caprieious and ehiingealile, the remembrance of her eiiarnis 
had been effaced from the Conde's heart liv those of some 



TlIK FKMAI.K MONK 223 

newer beauty. Wliatevet- waw the cause of her losing liiiu, 
she hiinciiU^d it sorely. Slie strove in vain, as she assured 
everybody who was kind enough to listen to her, to tear his 
image from lier too susecptililc iieail. She affected the aii's 
of a love-sieli virgin, and carried them all to the most ridie- 
ulons excess. She heaved lamentable siglis, walked witli 
iier arms folded, uttered long solilocLuies, an<l lier discourse 
generally turned upon some forsaken maid, wIkj expired of 
a broken heart ! Her fiery locks were always ornamented 
with a garland of willow. Every evening she was seen 
straying upon the banks of a rivulet liy moonligliL; and sIk; 
declared herself a violent adniiici- of murmuring streams 
and nightingales, — 

" Of lonely linuntH, and twilight groves, 
I'laci'fl which pule pasBlon Iovcm ! " 

Sucli was the state of l^eoneila's mind when obliged to 
quit .Madrid. Elvira was out of patience at all these follies, 
and endeavored to i)ersuade her to act likct a reasonable 
woman. IL'r advice was thrown away: Leonella ;issLiied 
Iku' at parting, that nothing could make her foi'get the pei-- 
fidioiis Don Chi-istoval. Jn this point she was foi'tiniately 
mistaken. An honest youth of Cordova, ioui'ueyman to an 
apotliee;u-y, found tlia.t hei' fortune would lie sullicient to set 
him up in a g(!nteel shop of his own. In cousequc^iee of 
this ri'lleetioii he .avowed himself hei' admirei'. Leonelhi was 
not iiillexilile ; the ardor of his siglis nieltetl liei' heart, and 
she soon eonsented to make him the hajjpiest of iiuuikind. 
Shi! wi'ote (-0 inform liei' sistei' of hei' mai'ri;ige ; but, for 
reasons wliieli will be explainecl hei'ea,fter, Elvira ne\'er :ui- 
swci'cid her letter. 

Amlji'osio was conducted into the ante-ehamber to that 
where Elvira was reposing. The female domestic who had 
admitted him, left him alone, while she annonneed his arrival 



224 ROSAEio ; or, 

to lier mistress. Antonia, who had been by her mother's 
bedside, immediately came to liim. 

"Pardon me, father," said she, advancing towards him; 
when recognizing his features, she stopped suddenly, and 
uttered a cry of joy. " Is it possible?" she continued, " do 
not my eyes deceive me? Has the worthy Ambrosio broken 
through liis resolution, that he may soften the agonies of the 
best of women ? What pleasure will this visit give my 
mother ! Let me not delay for a moment the comfort which 
your piety and wisdom will afford her." 

Thus saying, she opened the chamber door, presented to 
her mother her distinguished visitor, and, having placed an 
arm-chair by the side of the bed, withdrew into another 
apartment. 

Elvira was highly gratified by this visit ; her expectations 
iiad been raised high by general report, but she found them 
far exceeded. Ambrosio, endowed by nature with powers 
of pleasing, exerted them to the utmost, while conversing 
witli Anton ia's motlier. "With persuasive eloquence he calmed 
every fear, and dissipated every scruple. He bid her reflect 
on the infinite mercy of her judge, despoiled death of his 
darts and terrors, and taught lier to view without shrinking 
the abyss of eternity on wliose brink she then stood. Elvira 
was absorbed in attention and delight ; while she listened to 
Ills exliortations, confidence and comfort stole insensibly 
into her mind. She unbosomed to him without hesitation 
her cares and apprehensions. The latter respecting a future 
life he had already quieted, and he now removed the former, 
wliich she felt for the concerns of tliis. She t' embled for 
Antonia ; she had none to whose care she eouk' recommend 
lier, save to tlie Marquis de las Cisternas, '.id her sister 
Loonella. The protection of the one was very uncertain ; 
and as to tlie other, though fond of her niece, Leonella was 
so thoughtless and vain, as to make lier an improper person 
to have the sole direction of a girl so young iMid ignorant of 



THE FEMALE MONK 225 

the world. The friar no sooner learned the cause of her 
alarms, than he begged her to make herself easy upon that 
head. He doubted not behig able to secure for Antonia a 
safe refuge iu the house of one of his penitents, the Mar- 
chioness of Villa-Frauca ; this was a lady of acknowledged 
virtue, remarkable for strict principles and extensive charity. 
Should accident deprive hor of this resource, he engaged to 
procure Antonia a reception in some respectable convent, 
that is to say, in quality of boarder ; for Elvira had declared 
herself no friend to a monastic life, and the monk was either 
candid or complaisant enough to allow that her disapproba- 
tion was not unfounded. 

The proofs of the interest which he felt for her, completely 
won Elvira's heart. In thanking him, she exhausted every 
expression'whieh gratitude could furnish, and protested that 
now she should resign herself with tranquillity to the grave. 
Ambrosio rose to take leave ; he promised to return the next 
day at the same hour, but requested that his visits might be 
kept secret. 

" I am unwilling," said he, "that my breaking through a 
rule imposed by necessity, should be generally known. Had 
I not resolved never to quit my convent, except upon cir- 
cumstances as urgent as that which has conducted me to 
your door, I should be frequently summoned upon insig- 
nificant occasions ; that time would be engrossed by the 
curious, the unoccupied, and the fanciful, which I now pass 
at the bedside of the sick, in comforting the expiring peni- 
tent, and clearing the passage to eternity from thorns." 

Elvira commended equally his prudence and compassion, 
promising to conceal carefully the honor of his visits. The 
monk then gave her his benediction, and retired from the 
chamber. 

In the ante-room he found Antonia ; he could not refuse 
himself the pleasure of passing a few moments in her so- 
ciety. He bid her take comfort, for that her mother seemed 

EOSAEIO 15 



226 ROSARio ; OR, 

composed and tranquil, and he hoped that she might yet do 
well. He inquired who attended her, and engaged to send 
the pliysician of his convent to see her, one of the most skil- 
ful in Madrid. He tlifn launched out in Elvira's connuenda- 
tion, praised her purity and fortitude of mind, and dcchired 
that she had insjjired liini with the highest esteem and rev- 
erence. Antonia's innocent heart swelled with gratitude, joy 
danced in her eyes, where a tear still sparkled. The hopes 
which he gave her pf her mother's recovery, the lively inter- 
est which he seenietl to feel for her, and the flattering way 
in which she was mentioned by him, added to -the report of 
his, judgment and virtue, and to the impression made upon 
her by his eloquence, confirmed the favorable opinion with 
which his first appearance had inspired Antonia. She re- 
plied with diffidence, but without restraint ; she feared not 
to relate to him all her little sorrows, all her little fears and 
anxieties ; and she thanked him for his goodness with all 
the genuine warmth which favors kindle in ft young and in- 
nocent heart. 8uoh alone knows how to estimate benefits 
at their full valae. They who are conscioua of mankind's 
perfidy and selfiehnese, ever receive an obligation with ap- 
pfehension and distrust, they suspect that some secret motive 
must luvk behind it ; they express their thanks with restraint 
and caution, and fear to praise a kind action to its fuU ex- 
tent, aware that some future day a return may be required. 
Not so Antonia — she thought the world was composed only 
of those who resembled her, and that vice existed was to her 
still a secret. The monk had been of service to her ; he 
said that he wished her well ; she was grateful for his kind- 
ness, and thought tliat no terms were strong enough to be 
the vehicle of her thanks.. With what delight did Ambrosic 
listen to tlie declaration of her artless gratitude ! Tlie nat- 
ural grace of her manners, the unequalled sweetness of her 
voice, her modest vivacity, her unstudied elegance, lier cx- 
l)ressive countenance and intelligent eyes, united to inspire 



THE FEMALE MONK 227 

him with pleasure find admiration ; -while the solidity and 
correctness of her romarks received additional beauty from 
the unaffected simplicity of the language in which they were 
conveyed. 

Ambrosio was at length obliged to tear himself from tliis 
conversation, which possessed for him but too many charms. 
He repeated to Antonia liis wishes that his visits should not 
be made known, which desire she proinised to observe. He 
then quitted the house, while his enchantress hastened to her 
mother, ignorant of the mischief which her beauty had 
caused. . She was eager to know Elvira's opinion of the man 
whom she had praised in such enthusiastic terms, and was 
delighted to And it equally favorable, if not even more so, 
than her own. 

" Even before he spoke," said Elvira, " I was prejudiced 
in his favor ; the fervor of his exhortations, dignity of his 
manner, and closeness of his reasoning, were very far from 
inducing me to alter my opinion. His fine and full-toned 
voice struck me particularly ; but surely, Antonia, I have 
heard it before. It seemed perfectly familiar to my ear ; 
either I must have known the abbot in former times, or liis 
voice bears a wonderful resemblance to that or some other 
to whom I have often listened. There were certain tones 
wliich touched my very heart, and made me feel sensations 
so singular, that I strive in vain to account for tliem." 

" Mj' dearest mother, it produced the same effect upon 
me : yet certainly neither of us ever heard liis voice till we 
came to Madrid.- I suspect that what we attribute to Iiis 
voice, really proceeds from his pleasant manners, which for- 
bid our considering him as a stranger. I know not why, 
but I feel more at my ease while conversing witli liim, 
than I usually do witli people who are unlvuown to me. I 
feared not to repeat to him all my childish thoughts ; and 
somehow I felt confident tliat lie would hear my folly with 
indulo-ence. Oh ! I vras not deceived in him ; he listened to 



228 KOSAUio ; ou, 

me with such an iiir of kiiuliicys aiul attention ; he answered 
me with such gentleness, such condescension ; he did not 
call rae an infant and treat nie with contempt, as our cross 
old confessor at the castle used to do. I verily believe that 
if I had lived in Murcia a thousand years, I never should 
have liked tliat old fat Father Dominic ! " 

" I confess that Father Dominic had not the most pleasing 
manners in the world ; but he was honest, friendly, and 
well-meaning." 

" Ah ! my dear mother, those qualities are so common — " 

" God grant, my child, that experience may not teach you 
to think them rare and precious : I have found them but too 
much so. But tell me, Antonia, why is it impossible for me 
to have seen the abbot before ? " 

"Because since the moment when he entered the abbey, 
he has never been on the outside of its walls. He told me 
just now, that from his ignorance of the streets, he had some 
difliculty to And the strada di San lago, though so near the 
abbey." 

" All this is possible, and still I may have seen him before 
ho entered tlie abbey : in order to come ont, it was rather 
necessary that he should fii'st go in." 

"Holy Virgin! as you say, that is very true. Oh! but 
might he not have been born in the abbey?" 

Elvira smiled. 

" Why, not very easily." 

" Stay, stay ! Now I recollect how it was. He wns put 
into tlie abbey quite a child ; the common people say tliat lie 
fell from heaven, and was sent as a present to the C.'ipnchins 
by tlie Virgin." 

" Tliiit was very kind of lier. And so lie fell from heaven 
Antonia? He must hiivo had a terrible tumble." 

" Miiny do not civdit this ; and I fancy, my dear mother, 
tiiat 1 must number you among the unbelievers. Indeed, as 
our landhuly told my aunt, the general idea is, that his 



THE FEMALE MONK 229 

parents being poor, and unable to maintain him, left him 
just bom at the abbey-door : the late superior, from pure 
charity, had him educated in the convent, and he pioved to 
be a model of virtue, and piety, and learning, and I know 
not what else besides. In consequence lie was first received 
as a brother of the order, and not long ago was chosen abbot. 
However, whether this account or the other is the true one — 
at least all agree, that when the monks took him undtM' their 
care, he could not speak ; therefoiv you could not have heard 
his voice before he entered the monaster}', because at that 
time he had no voice at all." 

" Upon my word, Antonia, you argue very closely ; your 
conclusions are infallible. 1 did not susjjcct yon of lieing so 
able a logician." 

" Ah ! you are mocking me ; but so much the better. It 
delights me to see you in spirits ; besides, yon seem tranquil 
and easy, and I hope that you will have no more convulsions.' 
Oh ! I was sure the abbot's visit would do you good." 

" It has indeed done me good, my child. He has quieted 
my mind upon some points which agitated me, and I already 
feel the effects of his attention. My eyes grow heavy, and 
I think I can sleep a little. Draw the curtains, my Antonia ; 
but if I should not wake before midnight, do not sit up with 
me, I charge you." 

Antonia promised to obey her ; ^and having received her 
blessing, drew the curtains of the bed. She then seated her- 
self in silence at her embroidery frame, and beguiled the 
hours with building castles in the air. Her spirits were en- 
livened by the evident change for the better in Elvira, and 
her fancy presented her with visions bright and pleasing. 
In these dreams Ambrosio made no despicable fignre. She 
thought of him with joy and gratitude ; but for every idea 
which fell to the friar's share, at least two were unconsciously 
liostowed upon Lorenzo. Thus passed the time, till the bell 
in the neighboring etseple of the Capuchin cathedral an- 



230 



ROSARIO ; OR, 



nouucecl the hour of midnight. Antonia remembered her 
mother's injimctions, and obeyed them, though with re- 
luctance. She undrew the curtains with caution. Elvira 
was enjoying a profound and quiet slumber ; her cheek 
glowed with health's returning colors — a smile declared that 
her dreams were pleasant, and as Antonia bent over her, 
she fancied that she heard her name pronounced. She 
kissed her mother's forehead softly, and retired to her 
chamber ; there she knelt before a statute of St. Rosolia, 
her patroness ; she recommended herself to the protection of 
Heaven, and, as had been her custom from infancy, con- 
eluding her devotions by chanting a beautiful midnight 
hymn. 

Then Antonia retired to bed. Sleep soon stole over her 
senses ; and for several hours she enjoyed that calm repose 
which innocence alone can know, and for which many a 
monarch with pleasure would exchange Ms crown. 




^yy.:<^^ 




Returned miiliscovered to the abbey, Ambrosio's mind 
was filled with the iDOSt pleasing images. He was wilfully 
bliud to the danger of exposing himself to Antonia's chiirms : 
he only remembered the pleasure which her society had af- 
forded him, and rejoiced in Mie prospect of that pleasure 
being repeated. He failed not to profit by Elvira's indis- 
position to obtain a sight of her daughter every day. At 
first he bound('(l his wishes to inspire Antouia with friend- 
ship : but no sooner was he convinced that she felt that 
sentiment in its fullest extent, than his aim became more 
decided, and his attentions assumed a warmer color. The 
innocent familiarity with which she treated him, encouraged 
his desires. Gi'own used to her modesty, it no longer com- 
manded the same respect and awe : he still admired it, but 
it only made him more anxious to deprive her of that quality 
which formed her principal charm. Warmtli of pnssion, and 
natural penetration, of which latter, unfortunately both for 
himself and Antonia, he possess(!d an ample share, supplied 
a knowledge of the arts of seduction . He easily distinguished 
the emotions which were favorabh^ to his designs; iind 
seized every means with avidity of iul'using corruption into 
Antonia's bosom. Tliis he found no easy nuitter. Extreme 
sihiplicity prevented hef from perceiviug the aim to v/hici 



232 KosAKio ; or, 

the monk's insinuations l.oiulod ; but tlio oxt'ollout nionils 
which slie owoil to Elvii-.i's omvo, the soliiUly mul conooliu'ss 
of lier uudorstiimlinsi, find a strong souse of -wluvt wns right, 
iuipliintcd in iier lioart l>y uaturo, nuulo Iut fool tli;it his pro- 
copts must bo fiiuily. Uy a fow simpli' -worils sho t'liniuoiilly 
ovorthrow tlio wliolo bulk of his sophist ioal argumoiits, and 
mado hiui oousoious now >voak thoy woro wliou opposod to 
virtuo and truth. On suoh oooasious ho took rofugc in his 
oloquenoo ; lio ovoipoworod hor with a torrout of phiK>- 
sophical paradoxes, to which, not inidorstnudiug thoin, it 
was inipossiblo for hor to reply ; and tluis, tiiough lio did 
not convinoo hor tliiit liis roasoning was just, lio ati loast juo- 
vente.d her from disoovoring it to bo false, lie porooivod 
that her respoot for his judgment augiiioulod daily, and 
doubted not with time to bring hor ti> tlii' point desired. 

He was not uueonseions that his attempts were highly 
criminal. Ho saw clearly the baseness of dooeiviiig the in- 
nocent girl; but his passion was tot) violent to permit his 
abandoning his design. Ho resolved to pursue it, let the 
coiisequeneos be what they might. He depended upon lind- 
ing Antonia in sonio unguarded nionient ; and seeing no 
other man admitted into her society, )um' hearing any men- 
tioned either by her or by Elvira, he imagined (hat her yonng 
heart was still uuoceiipied. While he waiteil for the op- 
portunity of satisfying his tuiwarrnntiablo lust, every day in- 
eroased iiis coldness for Matilda. Not a little was this oc- 
casioned by thV eonst'ionsnoss o( his faults to her. To llide 
them from her, he was not snilloioully nuister of himself; 
yet ho dreaded lest, in a transjiort of jealous rage, sho should 
liotray the secret on which his oharacter and even his lil'e 
depended, MatiUhv could not but remark his indilToroiu'o : 
he was ooiiscions that, sho remarked it, and, fearing her rc- 
proachos, shiu>no(V hor studiously. Yet, when he could not 
avoid her, her mildness might, have eonvinood him (hat. he 
Ivul nothing to dread from her roscntuiont. She hadvosumod 



THE FEMALE XOJTK 233 

the character of the 2. Lti.r interesting Eteario: =:■.. taxed 
him not with i.j'zratitnde ; bnt her eyes fiUed with involun- 
tary- tear-, and the sw^jft melancholy of her coauti-nanc-e and 
voice utter complaints far more tonching tL: 1. wor-ls could 
liave conveyw]. Arnbrosio wa=, not nninoved by her s/^now : 
bnt. unable to remove ir- oijir^-. he forlx.re to show that it 
affected him. .A- her oof.diict coiivince<l him that he need 
not fear her vengeanee, he rontiuued to nejjleet her. and 
avoid her c-oropany with care. Matilda saw that siie in vain 
attempted to recrain his affections, yet siie st;.f!>:'i the hi.r/'ilse 
of i'r-.entment and contintj&fl to treat li--; incoL-t:nt lover 
with her former fondness and affectiou. 

Jiy degrees Elvira% eonstitiilion recovered itself, ^;.e 
wa-^ino long! i-tronbled with convulsions, and Aur-^^iii;. r-.-ased 
to tremble for her mother. A/i'-io^io beli«-Id tl.:s n:-estal>- 
lishment with displeasure. He saw that Elvira's knowl lie 
of the world would not be the doj^/e of Lis sanctified de- 
meanor, and that she would easily perceive his •• :• t' - upon 
her daughter. He resolved, therefore, before she quitted 
her ciiamber, to try the extent of Lis influence over the in- 
nocent Antonia. 

One evening, when he ha<l 'found Klvira airnc^t p>^-rfectlv 
restore<l to health, he quitted her earlier tlian was iiis usi.al 
eitstorn. Not finding Antonia in the ant—e-liainber. iie 
veritared to follow her to her own. It w.o- only .separated 
from her mother's bv a closet, in which Flo'a, the waiting- 
woman, jfenerally slff.t. Antonia sat uf»on a sofa with her 
back towarfls the drxir. and read attentively, ■^he heard not 
Iris apprfiflch, till he had seated him-' If by Ler. Mj- started, 
and welcoTfied him with a look of pleasure : then rising, she 
would have condiK-ted him to the sitting-room : but Am- 
brosio. t.'ikin;^ her hand, obljwd ber by i(:rit\<' y'vAt-MCi; t<> 
resume her jdace. ^r complied without difficulty: si,. 
knew not that there was rrKtre impropriety in conversin;; 
with him in one room than another. She thought berseli 



234 ROSARio ; ok, 

equally secure of his principles and her own ; and having re- 
placed herself upon the sofa, she began to prattle to him 
with her usual ease and vivacity. 

He examined the book which she had been reading, and 
had now placed upon tlie table. It was the Bible. 

"How!" said the friar to himself, " Antonia reads the 
Bible, and is still so ignorant?" 

But, upon a further inspection, he found that Elvira had 
made exactly the same remark. That prudent mother, while 
slie admired the beauties of the sacred writings, was con- 
vinced that, unrestricted, no reading more improper could 
be permitted a young woman. Many of the narratives can 
only tend to excite ideas the worst calculated for a female 
breast ; everything is called plainly and roundly by its name ; 
and the annals of a brothel would scarcely furnish a greater 
choice of indecent expressions. Yet this is the book which 
young women are recommended to study, which is put into 
the hands of children, able to comprehend little more than 
those passages of which they had better remain ignorant, 
and which but too frequently inculcates the first rudiments 
of vice, and gives the first alarm to the still sleeping passions. 
Of this was Elvira so fully convinced, that she would have 
preferred putting into her daughter's hands " Amadis de 
Gaul," or '^ The Valicmt Champion, Tirante the White;" 
and would sooner have authorized her studying the lewd ex- 
ploits of Don Galaor or the lascivious jokes of the Damsel 
Plazer di mi rida. She had in consequence made two reso- 
lutions respecting the Bible. The first was, that Antonia 
should not read- it till she was of an age to feel its beauties, 
and profit by its morality. The second, that it should be 
copied out with her own hand, and all improper passages 
either altere'd or omitted. She had adhered to this deter- 
mination, and such was the Bible which Antonia was read- 
ing ; it Jiad been lately delivered to Jier, and she perused it 
with an avidity, tvith a delight that was inexpressible. Am- 



THE FEMALE MONK 235 

bi'osio perceived his mistake, and replaced the book upon 
the table. 

Antonia spoke of her mother's health with all the enthusi- 
astic joy of a youthful heart. 

"I admire your filial affection," said the abbot; "it 
proves the excellence and sensibility of your character ; it 
proves a treasure to him whom Heaven has destined to 
possess your affections. The breast so capable of fondness 
for a parent, what will it feel for a lover? Nay, perhaps, 
what feels it for one even now? Tell me, mylovely daugh- 
ter, have you known what it is to love ? Answer me with 
sincerity : forget my habit, and consider me only as a 
friend." 

"What it is to love?" said she, repeating his question. 
" Oh ! yes, undoubtedly ; I have loved many, many people." 

"That is not what! mean. The love of which 1 speak 
can be felt only for one. Have you never seen the man 
whom you wished to be your husband ? " 

" Oh ! no, indeed ! " 

This was an untruth, but she was unconscious of its false- 
hood : she knew not the nature of her sentiments for Lo- 
renzo ; and never having seen him since his first visit to 
Elvira, with every day his image grew less feebly impressed 
upon her bosom ; besides, she thought of -a husband with all 
a virgin's terror, and negatived the friar's demand without a 
moments hesitation. 

"And do you not long to see that man, Antonia? Do 
you feel no void in your lieart, which you fain would have 
filled up? Do you heave no sighs for the absence of some- 
one dear to you, but who" that someone is you know not? 
Perceive you not that what formerly could please, has charms 
for you no longer? that a thousand new wishes, new ideas, 
new sensations, have sprung in your bosom, only to be felt, 
never to be desct-ibed? Or, while yoxi fill every other heart 
with passion, is it possible that your own remains insensible 



236 EOSAEio, OR ; 

and cold? It cannot be ! That melting eye, that blushing 
cheek, that enchanting melancholy which at times over- 
spreads your features — all these marks belie your words ; 
you love, Antouia, and in vain would hide it from me ! " 

"Father, you amaze me ! What is this love of which you 
speak? I neither know its nature, nor, if I felt it, why I 
should conceal the sentiment?" 

" Have you seen no man, Antonia, whom, though never 
seen before, you seemed long to have souglit? whose form, 
though a stranger's, was familiar to your eyes? the sound of 
whose voice soothed you, pleased you, penetrated to your 
very soul? in whose presence you rejoiced, for whose ab- 
sence you lamented ? with whom your heart seemed to ex- 
pand, and in whose bosom, with confidence unbounded, you 
reposed the 'cares of your own ? Have you not felt all this, 
Antonia? " 

" Certainly I have : the first time that I saw you, I felt 
it." 

Ambrosio started. Scarcely dared he credit his hearing. 

" Me, Antonia?" he cried, his eyes sparkling with delight 
and impatience, while he seized her hand and pressed it 
rapturously to his lips. "Me, Antonia? You felt these 
sentiments for me ? " 

" Even with more strength than you have described. The 
very moment that I beheld you, I felt so pleased, so inter- 
ested ! I waited so eagerly to catch the sound of your voice ; 
and, when I heard it, it seemed so sweet ! it spoke to me a 
language till then so unknown ! Methought it told me a 
thousaijd things which I wished to hear ! It seemed as if I 
had long known you ; as if I had a right to your friendship, 
your advice, and your protection. I wept when you de- 
parted, and longed for the time which should restore you to 
my sight." 

" Antonia ! my charming Antonia ! " exclaimed the monk, 
and caught her to his bosom. " Can I believe ,my senses? 



TITE FEMALE MONTC I'S i 

Repeat it to me. my swi-et girl ! Tell ine again that you 
love me, that yoii love me truly and tenderly I " 

'• Indeed 1 do : let my mother lie excepted, and the world 
holds no one more dear to me." 

At tJiis frank avowal Ambrosio no longer possessed him- 
self : with wild desire, he clasped the blushing tiembler in 
his arms. Stai'tled, alarmed, and confused at his action, 
suiprise at tirs< deprived her of the power of resistance. At 
lengtli recovering herself, she strove to escape fi-om his em- 
brace. 

•■ Father I— Ambi-osio ! " she cried, ■ • release me, for God's 
sake ! " 

But the licentious monk heeded not her prayers. Antonia 
wept, and struggled : ten'ified to the exti'eme, though at 
what she knew not. she exerted .ill her strength to repuls« 
the fiiar. and was on the point of shiieking for assistance, 
when the chamber door was suddenly thrown open. Am- 
brosio had just solHcient presence of mind to be sensible of 
his dantrer. Antonia uttered an exclamation of joy, tlew 
towanls the door, and found hei-self clasped in the arms of 
her mother. 

Alai-med at some of the abbot's speeches, which Antonia 
had innocently repeated, Elvira resolved to ascertain the 
tiuth of her suspicions. She had known enough of mankind 
not to be imposed upon by the monks reputed virtue. She 
reflected on several cii-cumstauces which, though trilling, on 
being put together seemed to authorize her fe-n-s. His fre- 
quent visits, which, as far as she conld see, were confined to 
her family ; his evident emotion, whenever she spoke of An- 
tonia ; his being in the full prime and heat of nianhoovl : 
and. .ibove all. his pernicious phdosophy communicated to 
her by Antonia, and which acconled bnt ill with his conver- 
sation in her presence : all tliese cii-cunistauces inspired her 
with doubts rfsi>ectiug the piuity of Auibrosio's friendship. 
In consequence she resolved, when he should next be alone 



238 EosARio ; oe, 

witli Antonia, to emleavor at surprising him. Her plan had 
succeeded. However, she was too prudent to make those 
suspicions known. She judged that to unmask the impostor 
Would be no easy matter, the public being so ranch prejudiced 
in his favor : and having but few friends, she thought it 
dangerous to make herself so powerful an enemy. She af- 
fected, therefore, not to remarli his agitation, seated herself 
tranquilly upon the sofa, assigned some trifling reason foi 
having quitted her room unexpectedly, and conversed on 
various subjects with seeming confidence and ease. 

Reassured by her behavior, the monk began to recover 
himself. He strove to answer Elvira without appearing em- 
barrassed : but he was still too great a novice in dissimula- 
tion, and he felt that he must look confused and awkward. 
He soon broke off the conversation, and rose to depart. 
What was liis vexation when, on taking leave, Elvira told 
him, in polite terms, tliat being now perfectly re-established, 
she thouglit it an injustice to deprive others of his company 
who might be more in need of it ! She assured hka of her 
eternal gratitude for the benefits which during her illness 
she had derived from his society and exhortations : and she 
lamented that her domestic affairs, as well as the multitude 
of business wliich his situation must of necessity impose 
upon him, would in future deprive her of the pleasure of his 
visits. Though delivered in the mildest language, this hint 
was too plain to be mistaken. Still he was preparing to put 
in a remonstrance, when an expressive look from Elvira 
stopped him short. He dared not press her to receive him, 
for her manner convinced him that he was discovered : he 
submitted without reply, took a hasty leave, and retired to 
the abbey, his heart filled wi.th rage and shame, bitterness 
and disappointment. 

Antonia's mind felt relieved by his departure ; yet she 
could not help lamenting that she was never to see him more. 
Elvira also felt a secret sorrow : she had received too much 



THE FEMALE MONK 239 

pleasure from thinking liiui her fj-iencl, not to regret tlie 
necessity of changing her opinion ; but her iniud was too 
much acoustouieil to the faHacy of worldly friendships to 
pi'iuiit her present disappointment to weigh upon it long. 
Siie now endeavored to malte her daughter aware of the risk 
whicli she had run ; but she was obliged to treat the subject 
■with caution, lest, in removing the bandage of ignorance, 
the veil of innocence should be rent away. She therefore 
contented herself with warning Antonia to be upon her 
guard, and ordering her, should the abbot persist in his 
visits, never to receive them but in company. With this in- 
junction Antonia promised to comply. 

Ambrosio liastened to his cell. He closed the door after 
him, and threw himself upon the bed in despair. The im- 
pulse of desire, tlie stings of disappointmeat, the shame of 
detection, and the fear of being publicly unmasked, rendered 
Lis bosom a scene of the most horrible confusion. He knew 
not what course to pursue. Debarred the presence of An- 
tonia, he had no hopes of satisfying that passion which was 
now become a part of his existence. He reflected that his 
secret was in a woman's power ; he trembled with appre- 
hension when he beheld the precipice before him, and with 
rage when he thought that, had it not been for Elvira, he 
should now have possessed the object of iiis desires. With 
the direst imprecations he vowed vengeance against her ; he 
swore that, cost what it would, he still would possess An- 
tonia. Starting from the bed, he paced the chamber with 
disordered steps, howled with impotent fury, dashed himself 
violently against the walls, and indulged all the transports 
of rage and madness. 

He was still under the influence of this storm of passions, 
when he heard a gentle knock at tlie door of his cell. Con- 
scious that his voice must have been heard, he dared not re- 
fuse admittance to the importuner. He strove to compose 
himself, and to hide his agitation. Having in some degree 



240 ROSAEio, OR ; 

succeedecl, he drew back the bolt; tUe door opened, and 
Matilda appeared. 

At this precise moment there was no one with whose pres- 
ence he could better have dispensed. He liad not sufficient 
command over himself to conceal his vexation. He started 
back, and frowned. 

" I am bnsy," said he in a stern and hasty tone ; " leave 
me." 

Matilda heeded him not : she again fastened the door, and 
then advanced towards him with an air gentle and sup- 
plicating. 

"Forgive me, Ambrosio," said she : " for your own sake 
T must not obey you. Fear no complaints from me ; I come 
not to reproach you with your ingratitude. I pardon j-ou 
from my lieart : and since your love can no longer be mine, 
I reqaest the next best gift — your confidefnce and friendship. 
We cannot force our inclinations : the little beauty which 
you once saw in me has perished witli its novelty ; and if it 
can no longer excite desire, mine is the fault, not yours. 
But why persist in sliunning me? why such anxiety to fly 
my presence? You have sorrows, but will not permit me to 
share in tlicm ; you have disappointments, but will not ac- 
cept my comfort ; you have wishes, but forbid my aiding 
your pursuits. 'Tis of this which I complain, not of your 
indifference to my person. I have given up the claims of 
the mistress, but nothing shall prevail on me to give up 
those of the friend." 

" Generous Matilda ! " he replied, taking her hand, " how 
far do you rise superior to the foibles of your sex ! Yes, I 
accept your offer, I have need of an adviser, and a confidant : 
in you I find every needful quality united. But to aid my 
pursuits — ah ! Matilda, it lies not in your power ! " 

"It lies in no one's power but mine. Ambrosio, your 
secret is known to nie : your every step, your every action 
has been observed by my attentive eye. Y"ou love." 



THE FEMALE MONK 241 

" Matilda ! " 

" Why conceal it from nic ? Fesiv not the little jealousy 
which taints the generality of women : my soul disdains so 
despicable a passion. You love, Ambrosio ; Antonia Dalfa 
is the object of j'our flame. I know every circumstance re- 
specting your passion. Every conversation has been re- 
peated to me. I have been informed of your attempt to 
enjoy Antonia's person, your disappointment and dismission 
from Elvira's house. You now despair of possessing your 
mistress ; but I come to relieve your hopes, and point out 
the road to success." 

" To success? Oh, impossible ! " 

"To those who dare, nothing is impossible. Eely upon 
me, and you may yet be happy. The time is con>e, Am- 
brosio, when regard for your comfort and tranquillity com- 
pels rae to reveal a part of my history, witli which you are 
still acquainted. Listen, and do not interrupt me. Should my 
confessions disgust you, remember that in making it my sole 
aim is to satisfy your wishes, and restore that peace to your 
heart which at present lias abandoned it. I formerly men- 
tioned tliat my guardian was a man of uncommon knowledge. 
He took pains to instil that knowledge into my infant mind. 
Among the various sciences which curiosity had induced him 
to explore, he neglected not that wliicli by most is esteemed 
impious, and by many Chimerical : I speak of those arts 
which relate to the world of spirits. His deep researches 
into causes and effects, his unwearied application to the 
study of natural philosophy, his profound and unlimited 
knowledge of the properties and virtues of every gem which 
enriches tlie deep, of every herb which the earth produces, 
at length procured him tlie distinction which he had sought 
so long, so earnestly. His curiosity was fully slaked, his 
ambition amply gratified. He gave laws to the elements: 
he could reverse the order of nature : liis eye read the man- 
dates of futurity, and the infernal spirits were submissive to 

EOSABIO 16 



242 ROSARio ; or, 

his commands. Why shrink you from me? I understand 
that inquiring look. Your suspicions are right, though your 
terrors are unfounded. My guardian concealed not from me 
his most precious acquisition. Yet, had I never seen you, I 
should never have exerted my power. Like you, I shud- 
dered at the thoughts of magic. Like you, I had formed a 
terrible idea of the consequences of raising a demon. To 
preserve that life which your love has taught me to prize, I 
liad recourse to means which I trembled at employing. You 
remember that night which 1 passed in St. Clare's sepulchre? 
then was it that, surrounded by mouldering bodies, I dared 
to perform those mystic rites which summoned to my aid a 
fallen angel. Judge what must have been my joy at dis- 
covering that my terrors were imaginary. I saw the demon 
obedient to my orders : I saw him trembling at my frown ; 
and found that, instead of selling my soul to a master, my 
courage had purchased for myself a slave." 

" Rash Matilda ! What have you done ? You have doomed 
yourself to endless perdition ; 3'ou have bartered for mo- 
mentary power eternal happiness ! If on witchcraft depends 
tlie fruition of my desires, I renounce your aid most ab- 
solutely. The consequences are too Iiorrible. I dote upon 
Aiitonia, but am not so blinded bj' lust as to sacrifice for 
her enjoyment my existence both in this world and in the 
next." 

" Ridiculous prejudices ! Oh ! blush, Ambrosio, blush at 
being subjected to their dominion. Where is the risk of 
accepting my offers? What should induce my persuading 
yoir to this step, except the wish of restoring j'ou to happi- 
ness and quiet? If tliere is danger, it must fall upon me. 
It is I who invoke tiie ministry of the spirits ; mine there- 
fore will be the eiime, and yours the profit ; but danger 
there is none. Tlie enemy of mankind is my slave, not my 
sovereign. Is there no difference between giving and re- 
ceivuig laws, between serving and commanding? Awake 



THE FEMALE MONK 243 

from your idle dreams, Aiiilnosio ! throw from j'ou these 
terrors so ill suited to a soul like yours ; leave them for eoui- 
mon men, and dare to Ije happy ! Accompany me this night 
to St. Clare's sepulchre ; there witness my incantations, and 
Antonia is your own." 

" To obtain her by such means, I neither can nor will. 
Cease, then, to persuade me, for I dare not employ hell's 
agency." 

" You dare not? How have you deceived me ! That mind 
which I esteemed so greiit and valiant, proves to be feeble, 
puerile, and grovelling, a slave to vulgar errors, and weaker 
than a woman's." 

"What? Thougli conscious of the danger, wilfully shall 
I expose myself to the seducer's arts ? Shall I renounce for 
ever iny title to salvation ? Shall my eyes seek a sight which 
I know will blast them ? No, no, Matilda, I will not ally 
myself with God's enemy." 

"Are you then God's friend at present? Have you not 
broken j'our engagements with Him, renounced His service, 
and abandoned yourself to the impulse of your passions? 
Areyou not planning the destruction of innocence, the ruin 
of a creature whom He formed in the mould of angels? If 
not of demons, uiiose aid would you invoke to forward this 
laudable design ? AVill the seraphim protect it, conduct An- 
tonia to your arms, an<l sanction with their ministry your 
illicit pleasures ? Absurd ! But I am not deceived, Am- 
brosio ! It is not virtue which makes you reject my offer ; 
you would accept it, but you dare not. 'Tis not the crime 
which holds your hand, but the punishment ; 'tis not respect 
for God which restrains you, but the terror of His vengeance ! 
Fain would you offend Him in secret, but you tremble to 
profess yourself His foe. Now shame on the coward soul 
which wants the courage either to be a firm friend or an 
open enemy ! " 

" To look upon guilt with horror, Matilda, is in itself a 



244 EOSAKio ; or, 

merit ; in this respect I glory io confess myself a coward. 
Though my passions have made me deviate from her laws, I 
still feel in my heart an innate love of virtue. But it ill be- 
comes you to tax me with mj'perjurj' ; you who first seduced 
me to violate my vowa ; you who first i-oused my sleeping 
vices, made me feel the weight of I'eligion's chains, and bade 
me be convinced that guilt had pleasures. Yet though my 
principles had yielded to the force of temperament, I still' 
have suflScient grace to shudder at sorceiy, and avoid a crime 
so monstrous, so unpardonable ! " 

"Unpardonable, say you? Where, then, is your constant 
boast of the Almighty's infinite merej'? Has He of late set 
bounds to it ? Receives He no longer a sinner with joy ? You 
injure Him, Ambrosio ; you will always have time to repent, 
and He have goodness to forgive. Afford Him a glorious 
opportunity to exert that goodness ; the greater your crime 
is, the greater His merit in pardoning. Away, then, with 
these childish scruples ; be persuaded to your good, and fol- 
low me to the sepulchre." 

" Oh, cease, Matilda ! That scoffing tone, that bold and 
impious language is horrible in every mouth, but most so in 
a woman's. Let us drop a conversation which excites no 
other sentiments than horror and disgust. I will not follow 
you to the sepulchre, or accept the service of your infernal 
agents. Antonia shall be mine, but mine by human means." 

"Then yours she will never be! You are banished her 
presence ; her mother has opened her eyes to your designs, 
and she is now upon her guard against them. Nay, more, 
she loves another ; a j'outh of distinguished merit possesses 
her heart ; and unless you interfere, a few days will make 
her his bride. This intelligence was brought me by my in- 
visible servants, to whom I had recourse on first perceiving 
your indifference. They watched your every action, related 
to me all that passed at Elvirii's, and inspired me witji the 
idea of favoring your designs. Their reports have been my 



THE FEMALE MONK 245 

only comfort. Thougii you shunned my presence, all your 
proceedings were known to me ; n;iy, I was constantly with 
you in some degree, thanks to this most precious gift ! " 

With these words she drew from beneath her habit a mirror 
of polished steel, the borders of which were marked with 
various strange and unknown characters. 

" Amidst all my sorrows, amidst all my regrets for your 
coldness, I was sustained from despair by the virtues of this 
talisman. On pronouncing cei'tain words, the person ap- 
pears in it on whom the observer's thoughts are bent : thus, 
though I was exiled from your sight, you, Ambrosio, were 
ever present to mine." 

The friar's curiosity was strongly excited. 

"What you relate is incredible! Matilda, are you not 
amusing yourself with my credulity?" 

" Be your own eyes the judge." 

She put the mirror into his hand. Curiosity induced him 
to take it, and love, to wish that Autouia miglit appear. 
Matilda pronounced the magic words. Immediately a thick 
smoke rose from the characters traced upon the borders, and 
spread itself over the surface. It dispersed again gradually ; 
a confused mixture of colors and images presented them- 
selves to the friar's eyes, which at length arranging them- 
selves in their proper places, he beheld in miniature An- 
tonia's lovely form. 

The scene was a small closet belonging to her apartment. 
Slie was undressing to bathe herself. The long tresses of 
her hair were already bound up. The amorous monk had 
full opportunity to observe the voluptuous Contours and ad- 
mirable symmetry of her person. She threw off lier last 
garment, and, advancing to the bath prepared for her, put 
her foot into the water. It struck cold, and she drew it 
back again. Tliough unconscious of being observed, an in- 
bred sense of modesty induced her to veil her charms ; and 
she stood hesitating tipon the brink, in the attitude of the 



246 ROSARio ; or, 

Venus de Meclicis. At this moment a tame linnet flew to- 
wards lier, nestling close to lier slioU-like ear. The smiling 
Antonia strove in vain to shake off the bird, and at length 
raised her hands to drive it away. Ambrosio could bear no 
more. 

" I yield ! " he cried, dashing the mirror upon the ground : 
" Matilda, I follow you ! Do with ine what you will ! " 

She waited not to hear his consent repeated. It was al- 
ready midnight. Siie flew to her cell, and soon returned 
with her little basket and the key of the cemetery, which 
had remained in her possession since her first visit to the 
vaults. Siie gave the monk no time for reflection. 

" Come ! " she said, and took his hand ; " follow me, and, 
witness the effects of j'our resolve." 

This said, she drew him hastily along. They passed into 
tlie burying ground unobserved, opened the door of the 
sepulclne, and found themselves at the head of the subter- 
raneous staircase. As yet the beams of the full moon had 
guided their steps, but that resource now failed them. Ma- 
tilda had neglected to provide herself with a lamp. Still 
holding Ambrosio's hand she descended the marble steps ; 
but the profound obscurity with which they were overspread, 
obliged them to walk slow and cautiously. 

"You tremble!" said Matilda to her companion ; ''fear 
not, the destined spot is near." 

They reached the foot of the staircase, and continued to 
proceed, feeling their way along the walls. On turning a 
corner suddenly they descried faint gleams of light, which 
seemed burning at a distance. Thither they bent their steps. 
The rays proceeded from a small sepulchral lamp which 
flamed unceasingly before the statue of St. Clare. It tinged 
with dim and cheerless beams the massy columns which sup- 
ported the roof, but was too feeble to dissipate the thick 
gloom in which the vaults above were buried. 

Matilda took the lamp. 



THE FEMALE MONK 247 

" Wait for me ! " said she to the friar ; " in a few mo- 
ments I am here again." 

With these words she hastened into one of tlie passages 
which branched in various directions from this spot, and 
formed a sort of labyrinth. Anibrosio was now left alone. 
Darkness the most profound surrounded him, and encoiu'agcd 
the doubts which began to revive in his bosom. He had 
been hurried away by the delirium of the moment. The 
shame of betraying his terrors, while in Matilda's presence, 
had induced him to repress them ; but, now that he was 
abandoned to himself, they resumed their former ascendancy. 
He trembled at the icene which he was soon to witness. 
He knew not how far the delusions of magic might operate 
upon his mind ; they possibly might force him to some deed 
whose commission would make the breach between himself 
and Heaven irreparable. In this fearful dilemma, he would 
have implored God's assistance, but was conscious that he 
had forfeited all claim to such protection. Gladly would he 
have returned to the abbey ; but as he had passed through 
innumerable caverns and winding passages, the attemi)t of 
regaining the stairs was hopeless. His fate was determined ; 
no possibility of escape presented itself. He therefore com- 
bated his apprehensions, and called every argument to his 
succour, which might enable him to support the trying scene 
with fortitude. He reflected tliat Antonia would be the re- 
ward of his daring. He inflamed his imagination by enumer- 
ating her charms. He persuaded himself that (as Matilda 
had obsei-ved) he always should have time sufficient for re- 
pentance ; and that, as he employed Jier assistance, not that 
of demons, the crime of sorcery could not be laid to his 
charge. He had read much respecting witchcraft ; he under- 
stood that, unless a formal act was signed renouncing his 
claim to salvation, Satan would have no power over him. 
He was fully determined not to execute any such act, what- 
ever threats might be used, or advantage held out to him. 



248 ROSARio, OR ; 

Such were his meditations while waiting for Matilda. 
They were interrupted l\v a low murmur, which sooniod at 
no great distance from him. He was startled — he listened. 
Some minutes p.assed in silence, after which tlie murmur 
was repeated. It appeared to be tlie groaning of one in 
pain. In any other situation this circumstance would only 
have excited his attention and curiosity. In the present, 
his predominant sensation was that of terror. His imagi- 
nation totally engrossed by the ideas of sorcery and spirits, 
he fancied that some unquiet ghost was wandei'ing near him ; 
or else tliat JMatilda had fallen a victim to her presumption, 
and was perisliiug under the cruel fangs of the demons. 
The noise seemed not to approach, but continued to be heaixl 
at intervals. Sometimes it became more audible — doubtless, 
as the sufferings of the person who uttered the groans be- 
came more acute and insupportable. Ambrosio now and 
then thought that he could distinguish accents, and once in 
particular he was almost convinced that he heai-d a faint 
voice exclaim : — 

" God ! O God ! No hope ! No succour ! " 

Yet deeper groans followed these words : they died away 
gradually, and univei'sal silence again prevailed. 

" What can this meiiu?" thought the bewildered monk. 

At that moment an idea which flashed into liis mind al- 
most petrified him with horror. He started and shuddered 
at himself. 

"Should it be possible!" — ^he groaned involuntarily — 
" should it but be possible ; oh ! what a monster am 1 ! " 

He wished to resolve his doubts, and to repair his fault, 
if it were not too late already. But these generous and com- 
passionate sentiments were soon put to (light by the return 
of Matilda. He forgot the groaning suffeivr, and remem- 
bered nothing but the danger and embarrassment of his own 
situation. The light of tlie returning lamp gilded the w.<vlls, 
and in a few moments after Matilda stood beside him. She 



THE FEMALE MONK 249 

bad quitted her religious habit : she was now clothed in a 
long sable robe, on which was traced in gold embroidery a 
variety of unknown characters : it was fastened by a girdle 
of precious stones, in wliich was fixed a poignard. Her 
neck and arms were uncovered ; in her hand she bore a 
golden wand ; her hair was loose, and flowed wildly upon 
her shoulders; her eyes sparkled with terrific expression, 
and her whole demeanor was calculated to inspire the be- 
holder with awe and admiration. 

" Follow me ! " she said to the monk, in a low and solemn 
voice ; "all is ready ! " 

His limbs trembled while he obeyed her. She led him 
through various narrow passages ; and on every side, as 
they passed along, the beams of the lamp displayed none 
but the most revolting objects ; skulls, bones, graves, and 
images whose eyes seemed to glare on them with horror and 
surprise. At let^gth they reached a spacious cavern, whose 
lofty roof the eye sought in vain to discover. A profound 
obscurity hovered through the void ; damp vapors struck 
cold to the friar's heart, and he listened sadly to the blast 
wiiile it howled along the lonely vaults. Here INIatilda 
stopped. She turned to Ambrosio. His cheeks and lips 
were pale with apprehension. By a glance of mingled scorn 
and anger she reproved bis pusillanimity, but she spoke not. 
She placed the lamp upon the ground near the basket. She 
motioned that Ambrosio should be silent, and began the 
mysterious rites. She drew a circle round him, anotlier 
round herself; and then, taking a small phial from the 
basket, poured a few drops upon the ground before her. 
She bent over the place, muttered some indistinct sentences, 
and immediately a pale sulphurous flame arose from the 
ground. It increased by degrees, and at length spread its 
waves over the whole snrface, the circles alone excepted in 
which stood Matilda and the monk. It then ascended the 
huge columns of unhewn stone, glided along the roof, and 



250 ROSARIO ; OK, 

formed the cavern into an immense chamber totally covered 
with blue trembling fire. It emitted no heat: on the con- 
trary, the extreme chilluess of the place seemed to augment 
■with every moment. Matilda continued her incantations ; 
at intervals she took various articles from the basket, the 
nature and name of most of which were unknown to the friar : 
but among the few which he distinguished, he particulai-ly 
observed three human fingers, and an ag7ms dei, which she 
broke in pieces. She threw them all into the flames which 
burned before her, and they were instantly consumed. 

Tlie monk beheld her with anxious curiosity- Suddenly 
she uttered a loud and piercing sl)riek. She appeared to be 
seized with an access of delirium ; she tore her hair, beat 
her bosom, used the most frantic gestures, and, drawing the 
poignard from her girdle, plunged it into her left arm. The 
blood gushed out plentifully ; and, as she stood on the brink 
of the circle, she took care that it sliould fall on the outside. 
The flames retired from the spot on which the blood was 
pouring. A volume of dark clouds rose slowly from the en- 
sanguined earth, and ascended gradually till it reached the 
vault of the cavern. At the same time a clap of thunder 
was heard, tlie cclio pealed fearfully along the subterraneous 
passages, and the ground shook beneath the feet of the en- 
chantress. 

It was now that Ambrosio repented of his rashness. The 
solemn singularity of the ciiarm had prepared him for some- 
thing strange and horrible. He waited with fear for the 
spirit's appearance, whose coming was announced by thunder 
and earthquakes. He looked wildly around him, expecting 
that some dreadful apparition would meet his eyes, the sight 
of which would drive him mad. A cold shivering seized liis 
body, and he sunk upon one knee, unable to support him- 
self. 

"He comes ! " exclaimed Matilda, in a joyful accent. 

Ambrosio started, and expected the demon with terror. 



THE FEMALE MONK 251 

What was his surprise when, the thunder ceasing to roll, a 
full strain of melodious iiinsic sounded in the air ! At the 
same time the cloud disappeared, and he beheld a figure 
more beautiful than fancy's pencil ever drew. It was a 
youth seemingly scarce eighteen, the perfection of whose 
form and face was unrivalled. He was perfectly naked ; a 
bright star sparkled upon his forehead, two crimson wings 
extended themselves from his shoulders, and his silkeu locks 
were confined by a band of many colored fires, which played 
round his head, formed themselves into a variety of figures, 
and shone with a brilliance far surpassing that of precious 
stones. Circlets of diamonds were placed round his arms 
and ankles, and in his right hand he bore a silver branch 
imitating myrtle. His form shone with dazzling glory ; he 
was surrounded by clouds of rose-colored light, and at 
the moment that he appeared, a refreshing air breathed 
perfumes through the cavern. Enchanted at a vision so 
contrary to his expectations, Ambrosio gazed upon the spirit 
with delight and wonder ; yet, liowever beautiful the figure, 
he could not but remark a wildness in the demon's eyes, and 
a mysterious melancholy impressed upon his features, be- 
traying the fallen angel, and inspiring the spectators with 
secret awe. 

The music ceased. Matilda addressed herself to the spirit ; 
she spoke in a language unintelligible to tiie monk, and was 
answered in the same. She seemed to insist upon something 
which the demon was unwilling to grant. He frequently 
dai-ted upon Ambrosio angry glances, and at such times the 
friar's heart sank within him. 3Iatilda appeared to grow in- 
censed ; she spoke in a loud and commanding tone, and her 
gestures declared that she was threatening him with her ven- 
geance. Her menaces had the desired effect. The spirit 
sank upon his knee, and with a submissive air presented to 
her the branch of myrtle. Xo sooner had she received it, 
than the music was again heard ; a thick cloud spread itself 



252 EosARio ; ob, 

over the apparition ; the blue flames disappeared, and total 
obscurity reigned through the cave. The abbot moved not 
from his place : his faculties were all bound up in pleasure, 
anxiety, and surprise. At length the darkness dispersing, 
he perceived Matilda standing near him in her religious 
habit, with the myrtle in her hand. No traces remained of 
the incantation, and the vaults were only illuminated by the 
faint rays of tlie sepulchral lamp. 

"I have succeeded," said Matilda, "though with more 
difficulty than I expected. Lucifer, whom I summoned to 
my assistance, was at first unwilling to obey my commands : 
to enforce his compliance, I was constrained to have recourse 
to my strongest charms. They have produced the desired 
effect, but I have engaged never moie to invoke his agency 
in your favor. Beware, then, how you employ an oppor- 
tunity that never will return. My magic arts will now be of 
no use to you ; in future you can only hope for supernatural 
aid by invoking the demons yourself, and accepting the con- 
ditions of their service. This you will never do. You want 
strength of mind to force tliem to obedience ; and unless you 
pay their established price, they will not be your voluntary 
servants. In this one instance they consent to obey you : I 
offer you the means of fascinating your lady-love, and be 
careful not to lose tlie opportunity. Receive this constel- 
lated myrtle ; while you bear this in your hand every door 
will fly open to you. It will procure your access to-morrow 
night to Antonia's chamber : then breath upon it thrice, 
pronounce her name, and place it upon her pillow. A death- 
like slumber will immediately seize upon her, and deprive 
her of all consciousness. Sleep will hold her till break of 
morning ; when daylight shall dispel the effects of the en- 
chantment, Antonia will perceive her dishonor, but be ig- 
norant of the ravisher. Let this service convince you, my 
Ambrosio, that my friendship is disinterested and sincere. 



THE FEMALE MONK 



253 



The night must be near expiring : let us return to the abbey, 
lest our absence shoukl create surprise." 

The abbot received the talisman with silent gratitude. 
His ideas were too much bewildered bj' tlie adventures of 
the night, to permit his expressing his thanks audibly, or 
indeed as yet to feel the whole value of her present. Ma- 
tilda took up her lamp and basket, and guided her eompanion 
from the mysterious cavern. She restored the lamp to its 
former place, and continued her route in darkness till she 
reached the foot of the staircase. The first beams of the 
rising sun darting down it facilitated the ascent. Matilda 
and the abbot hastened out of the sepulchre, closed the door 
after them, and soon regained the abbey's western cloister. 
No one met them, and they retired unobserved to their re- 
spective cells. 

The confusion of Ambrosio's mind now began to appease. 
He rejoiced in the fortunate issue of his adventure, and re- 
flecting upon the virtues of the myrtle, looked upon Antonia 
as already in his power. 




\«l/ : 




All the researches of the Marquis de las Cisternas proved 
vain. Agnes was lost to him for ever. Despair produced 
so violent an effect upon his constitution, that the conse- 
quence was a long and severe illness. This prevented him 
from visiting Elvira, as he had intended ; and slie being ig- 
norant of the cause of his neglect, it gave her no trifling un- 
easiness. His sister's death had prevented Lorenzo from 
communicating to his uucle his designs respecting Antonia. 
The injunctions of her mother forbade his presenting him- 
self to her without the duke's consent ; and as she heard no 
more of him or his proposals, Elvira conjectured tliat he had 
either met with a better match, or had been commanded to 
give up all thoughts of her daughter. Every day made her 
more uneasy respecting Antonia's fate ; yet, while she re- 
tained the abbot's protection, she bore with fortitude the 
disappointment of iier hopes with regard to Lorenzo and the 
Marquis. That resource now failed her. She was con- 
vinced that Ambrosio had meditated her daughter's ruin ; 
and when she reflected that her death would leave Antonia 
friendless and unprotected in a world so base, so perfidious, 
and depraved, her heart swelled with the bitterness of ap- 
prehension. At such times she would sit for hours gazipg 
upon the lovely gii'l, and seeming to listen to her innocent 



THE FEMALE MONK 255 

prattle, while in rciility her thoughts dwelt upon the sorrows 
into which a moment would suflice to plunge her. Then she 
would clasp her in hor arms suddenly', lean her head upon 
her daughter's bosom, and bedew it witli her tears. 

An event was in preparation, which, had she known it, 
would have relieved her from her inquietude. Lorenzo now 
waited only for a favorable opportunity to inform the duke 
of his intended marriage ; however, a circumstance which 
occurred at this period obliged him to delay his explanation 
for a few days longer. 

Don Raymond's malady seemed to gam ground. Lorenzo 
was constantly at his bedside, and treated him with a tender- 
ness truly fraternal. Both the cause and effects of the dis- 
order were highly afflicting to the brother of Agnes ; yet his 
page, Theodore's grief was scarcely less sincere. Tliat 
amiable boy quitted not his master for a moment, and put 
every means in practice to console and alleviate his suffer- 
ings. The marquis had conceived so rooted an affection for 
his deceased mistress, that it was evident to all that ho never 
could survive her loss. Nothing could liave prevented him 
from sinking under his grief, but the persuasion of her being 
still alive, and in need of his assistance. Tiioiigh convinced 
of its falsehood, his attendants encouraged liim in a belief 
wiiich formed liis only comfort. He was assured dailj' that 
fresli perquisitions were making respecting the fate of Agnes : 
stories were invented recounting the various attempts made 
to get admittance into tlie convent ; and circumstances were 
related, wiiicli, though tjiey did not promise lier absolute I'c- 
covery, at least were sufficient to keep liis liopes alive. Tlie 
marquis constantly fell into tlie most terrible excess of 
passion, wjien informed of the failure of these supposed at- 
tempts. Still, lie would not credit tliat llie succeeding ones 
would liave tlie same fate, but flattered himself that the next 
would prove more fortunate. 

Theodore was tlie only one who exerted himself to realize 



256 ROSARio ; or, 

his master's chimeras. He was eternally busied in planning 
schemes for entering the convent, or at least of obtaining 
from the nuns some intelligence of Agnes. To execute these 
schemes was the only inducement which could prevail on him 
to quit Don Raymond. He became the very Eroteus, chang- 
ing liis shape everj' day ; but all his metamorphoses were to 
very little purpose. He regularly returned to the Palace de 
las C'isternas witliout any intelligence to confirm his master's 
hopes. One day he took it into his liead to disguise himself 
as a beggar ; lie put a patch over his left eye, tools his guitar 
in hand, and posted himself at the gate of the convent. 

" If Agues is really confined in the convent," tiiought he, 
" and hears my voice, she will recollect it, and possibly may 
find means to let me know that she is here." 

With this idea he mingled witli a crowd of beggars who 
assembled daily at the gate of St. Clare to receive soup, which 
the nuns were accustomed to distribute at twelve o'clock. 
All were provided with jugs or bowls to carry it away ; but 
as Theodore had no utensil of tills kind, he begged leave to 
eat his portion at the convent door. This was granted with- 
out difficulty. His sweet voice, and, in spite of his patched 
eye, his engaging countenance, won the heart of the good old 
porteress, who, aided by a lay-sister, was busied in serving to 
each his mess. Theodore was bid to stay till the others should 
depart, and promised that his request should then be granted. 
The youth desired no better, since it was not to eat soup that 
he presented himself at the convent. He thanked the por- 
teress for her permission, retired from the door, and seating 
himself upon a large stone, amused himself in tuning his 
guitar while the beggars were served. 

As soon as the crowd was gone, Theodore was beckoned to 
the gate, and desired to come in. He obeyed with infinite 
readiness, but affected great respect at passing the hallowed 
threshold, and to be much daunted by the presence of the 
reverend ladies. His feigned timidity flattered the vanity of 



THE FEMALE MONK 257 

the nuns, who endeavored to re-assure him. The porteress 
took him into her own little parlor : in the meanwhile, the 
lay-sister went to the kitchen, and soon returned with a double 
portion of soup of better quality than what was given to the 
beggars. His hostess added some fruits and confections 
from her own private store, and both encouri\ged tiic youth 
to dine heartily. To all these attentions he replied with much 
seeming gratitude, and abundance of blessings upon his bene- 
factresses. "While he ate, the nuns admired the delicacy of 
his features, the beauty of his hair, and the sweetness and 
grace which accompanied all his affections. They lamented 
to each other in whispers that so charming a youth should be 
exposed to the seductions of the world, and agreed that he 
would be a worthy pillar of the Catholic church. They con- 
cluded their conference by resolving, that Heaven would be 
rendered a real service if they entreated the prioress to inter- 
cede with Ambrosio for the beggar's admission into the order 
of Capuchins. 

This being determined, the porteress, who was a person of 
great influence in the convent, posted away in all haste to 
the domina's cell. Here she made so flaming a narrative of 
Theodore's merits, that the old lady grew curious to see him. 
Accordingly the porteress was commissioned to convey him 
to the parlor-grate. In the interim, the supposed beggar was 
sifting the lay-sister with respect to the fate of Agnes : her 
evidence only corroborated the domina's assertions. She 
said, that Agnes had been taken ill on returning from con- 
fession, had never quitted her bed from that moment, and 
that she had herself been pi'esent at the funeral. She even 
attested having seen her dead body, and assisted with her 
own hands in adjusting it upon the bier. This account dis- 
couraged Theodore ; yet, as he had pushed the adventure so 
far, he resolved to witness its conchision. 

The porteress now returned, and ordered him to follow her. 

EOSABIO 17 



258 EOSAEIO ; OR, 

Ho obeyed, and was conducted into the parlor, where the 
lady prioress was already posted at the grate. The nuns 
surrounded her, who all flocked with eagerness to a scene 
which promised some diversion. Theodore saluted them with 
profound respect, and his presence had the power to smooth 
for a moment even the stern brow of the superior. She asked 
several questions respecting his parents, his religion, and what 
had reduced him to a state of beggary. I'o these demands 
his answers were perfectly satisfactory and perfectly false. 
He was then asked his opinion of a monastic life. He re- 
plied in terms of high estimation and respect for it. Upon 
this the prioress told him, that his obtaining an entrance into 
a religious order was not impossible ', that her recommendation 
would not permit his poverty to be an obstacle : and that, if 
she found him deserving it, he might depend in future upon 
her protection. Tiieodore assured her, that to merit her 
favor would be his highest ambition ; and having ordered him 
to return next day, when she would talk with him further, 
the domina quitted the parlor. 

The nuns, whom respect for the superior had still then kept 
silent, now crowded all together to the grate, and assailed the 
youth with a multitude of questions. He had already exam- 
ined each with attention. Alas! Agnes was not amongst 
them. The nuns heaped question upon question so thickly, 
that it was scarcely possible for him to reply. One asked 
where he was born, since his accent declared him to-be a 
foreigner : another wanted to know why he wore a patch upon 
his left eye : Sister Helena inquired whether he had not a 
sister like him, because she should like such a companion : and 
Sister Eachel was fully persuaded that the brother would lie 
the pleasanter companion of the two. Theodore amused him- 
self with relating to the credulous nuns, for truths, all the 
strange stories which liis imagination could invent. He re- 
lated to them his supposed adventures, and penetrated every 



THE nCMALE MONK 259 

auditor with astonishment, while he talked of giants, savages, 
shipwrecks, and islands inhabited 

'* By antbropophagi, and men whose heads 
1)0 grow beneath their shoulders," 

with many other circumstances to the full as remarkable. 
He said that he was born in Terra Incognita, was educated 
at a Hottentot university, aiid had passed two years among 
the Americans of Silesia. 

" For what regards the loss of my eye," said he, " it was a 
just punishment upon me for disrespect to the Virgin, when I 
made my second pilgrimage to Loretto. I stood near the 
altar in the miractilous chapel ; the monks were proceeding 
to array the statue in her best apparel. The pilgrims were 
ordered to close their eyes during this ceremony : but thougli 
by nature extremely religious, curiosity was too powerful. 
At the moment — I shall penetrate you with horror, reverend 
ladies when I reveal my crime ! — at the moment that the 
monks were changing her shift, I ventured to open my left 
eye, and gave a little peep towards the statue. That look 
was. my last ! The glory which surrounded the Virgin was 
too great to be supported. I hastily shut my sacrilegious 
eye, and never have been able to unclose it since ! " 

At the relation of this miracle the nuns all crossed them- 
selves, and promised to intercede with the blessed Virgin for 
the recovery of his siglit. They expressed their wonder at 
the extent of his travels, and at the strange adventures which 
he had met with at so early an age. They now remarked his 
guitar, and inquired whether he was an adept in music. He 
replied with modesty, that it was not for him to decide upon 
his talents, but requested permission to appeal to them as 
judges. This was granted without difficulty. 

The nuns were delighted witli the sweetness of his voice, 
and masterly manner of touching the instrument ; but how- 
ever acceptable this applause would have been at any other 



260 RosAEio ; OR, 

time, at present it was insipid to Theodore. His artifice had 
not succeeded. He paused in vain between the stanzas ; no 
voice replied to his, and he abandoned the hope of equalling 
Kiondel. 

The convent-bell now warned the nuns that it was time to 
assemble in the refectory. Thoy were obliged to quit the 
grate ; they thanked the youth for the entertainment his music 
had afforded them, and charged him to return the next day. 
This he promised. The nuns, to give him the greater inclina- 
tion to keep his word, told him that he might always depend 
upon the convent for his meals, and each of them made him 
some little present. One gave him a box of sweetmeats ; an- 
otiier, an ag?nts dei; some brought relics of saints, waxen 
images^ and consecrated crosses ; and others .presented him 
with pieces of those works in whieii the religious excel, such 
as embroidery, artificial flowers, lace, and needlework. All 
these lie was advised to sell, in order to put hinjsclf into 
better case ; and he was assured that it would be easy to dis- 
pose of tliein, since the Spaniards hold the perforjnances of 
the nuns in high estimation. Having received these gifts 
with seeming respect and gratitude, he remarked, that, having 
no basket, he kn'^w not how to convey them away. Several 
of tlie nuns were hastening in search of one, when they were 
stopped by tiie return of an elderly woman, whom Theodore 
had not till then observed. Her mild countenance and res- 
pectable air prejudiced him immediately in her favor. 

" Hah ! " said the porteress, " here comes the mother St. 
Ursula with a basket." 

The nun approached the grate, and presented the basket to 
Tlieodore : it was of willow, lined with blue satin, and upon 
the four sides were painted scenes from the legend of St. 
Genevieve. 

" Here is my gift," said she, as she gave it into his hand ; 
" good youth, despise it not. Though its value seems insig- 
nificant, it has many hidden virtues." 



THE FEMALE MONK 2()1 

She accompanied these words witli an expressive look. It 
was not lost upon Theodore. In receiving the i)resent, he 
drew as near the grate as possible. 

"Agnes ! " she whispered, in a voice scarcely intelligible. 

Theodore, however, caught the sound. He concluded that 
some mystery was concealed in the basket, and his heart 
beat with impatience and joy. At this moment the domina 
returned. Her air was gloomy and frowning, and she looked 
if possible more stern than ever. 

" Mother St. Ursula, I would speak with you in private." 

The nun changed color, and was evidently disconcerted. 

" With me? " she replied, in a faltering voice. 

The domina mentioned that she must follow her, and re- 
tired. The mother St. Ursula obeyed her. Soon after, tbe 
refectory bell ringing a second time, the nuns quitted the 
grate, and Theodore was left at liberty to carry off his prize. 
Delighted that at length he had obtained sonie intelligence 
for the marquis, he fiew rather than ran till he reached the 
Hotel de las Cisternas. In a few minutes he. stood by his 
master's bed with the basket in his hand. Loi-enzo was in 
his chamber, endeavoring to reconcile his friend to a misfor- 
tune which he felt himself but too severely. Theodore re- 
lated his adventure, and the hopes which had been created 
by the mother St. Ursula's gift. The marquis started from 
his pillow. That fire which since the death of Agnes had 
been extingiiished, now revived in his bosom, and his ej'es 
sparkled with the eagerness of expectation. The emotions 
which Lorenzo's countenance betrayed were scarcely weaker, 
and he waited with inexpressible impatience for the solution 
of this mystery. Raymond caught the basket from the hands 
of his page ; he emptied the contents upon the bed, and ex- 
amined them with minute attention. He hoped that a letter 
would be found at the bottom. Nothing of the kind ap- 
peared. The search was resumed, and still with no better 
success. At length Don Raymond observed that one corner 



262 ROSAEio ; or, 

of the blue satin lining was unripped ; he tore it open hastily, 
and drew forth a small Scrap of paper, neither folded nor 
sealed. It was addressed to the Marquis de las Cisternas, 
and the contents were as follows : — 

"Having recognized your page, I venture to send these 
few lines. Procure an order from the Cardinal Dulie for 
seizing my person, and that of the domina ; but let it not be 
executed till Friday at midnight. It is the Festival of St. 
Clare : there will be a procession of nuns by torch-light, and 
I shall be among them. Beware not to let your intention be 
known. Should a syllable be dropped to excite the domina's 
suspicions, you will never hear of me more. Be cautious, if 
you prize the memory of Agnes, and wish to punish her 
assassins. I have that to tell will freeze your blood with 
horror. 

" St. Ursula." 

No sooner had the marquis read the note, that lie fell 
back upon his pillow deprived of sense or motion . The hope 
failed him which till now had supported his existence ; and 
these lines convinced him but too positively that Agnes was 
indeed no more. Lorenzo felt this circumstance less forcibly, 
sincfe it had always been his idea that his sister had perished 
by unfair means. When he found by the mother St. Ursula's 
letter how true were his suspicions, the confirmation excited 
no other sentiment in his bosom than a wish to i)unish the 
murderers as they deserved. It was no easy task to recall 
the marquis to himself. As soon as he recovered his speech, 
he broke out into execrations against the assassins of his 
beloved, and vowed to take upon them a signal vengeance. 
He continued to rave and torment himself with impotent 
passion till his constitution, enfeebled by grief and illness, 
could support itself no longer, and relapsed into insensibility. 
His melancholy situation scarcely affected Lorenzo, who 



THE FEMALE MONK 263 

would willingly have reumined in the apartment of his friend : 
but other cares now demanded his presence. It was necessary 
to procure the order for seizing the prioress of St. Clare. For 
this purpose, having committed Raymond to the care of the 
best physicians iu Madrid, he quitted the Hotel de las Cis- 
ternas, and bent his course towards the palace of the Cardinal- 
Duke. 

His disappointment w.as excessive, when he found that 
affairs of state had obliged the cardinal to set out for a dis- 
tant province. It wanted but five days to Friday : yet by 
travelling day and night, he hoped to return in time for the 
pilgrimage of St. Clare. In this he succeeded. He found 
the Cardinal-Dulie, and represented to him the supposed cul- 
pability of the prioress, as also the violent effects which it 
had produced upon Don Raymond. He could have used no 
argument so forcibly as tliis last. Of all his nepliews the 
marquis was the only one to whom the Cardinal-Duke was 
sincerely attached : he perfectly doted upon him, and the 
prioress could have committed no greater crime in his eyes, 
than to have endangered the life of the marquis. Conse- 
quently, he granted the order of arrest without difficulty. 
He also gave Lorenzo a letter to a principal officer of the 
Inquisition, desiring him to see liis mandate executed. Fur- 
nished with these papers, Medina hastened back to Madrid, 
which he reached on the Friday, a few hours before dark. 
He found the Marquis somewhat easier, but so weak and ex- 
hausted, that without great exertion he could neither speak 
nor niove. Having passed an hour by his bedside, Lorenzo 
left him to communicate his design to his uncle, as also 
to give Don Ramirez de IMello the Cardinal's letter. The 
first was petrified with horror when he learned the fate of 
his unhappy niece. He encouraged Lorenzo to punish her 
assassins, and engaged to accompany him at niglit to St. 
Clare's convent. Don Ramirez promised his firmest support, 



264 uosARio ; OR, 

and selected a band of trusty archers to prevent opposition 
on the part of the populace. 

But while Lorenzo was anxious to unmask one religious 
hypocrite, he was unconscious of the sorrows prepared for 
him by another. Aided by Matilda's infernal agents, Am- 
brosio had resolved upon the innocent Antonia's ruin. The 
moment destined to be so fatal to her arrived. She had 
taken leave of her mother for the night. As she kissed lier, 
she felt an unusual despondency infuse itself into licr bosom. 
She left her and returned to her instantly, threw herself into 
Ijer maternal arms, and bathed her cheeks with tears. She 
felt uneasy at quitting her, and a secret presentiment assured 
her that never must they meet again. Elvira observed, and 
tried to laugh her out of this childish prejudice. She chid 
her mildly for encouraging such ungrounded sadness, and 
warned her how dangerous it was to encourage such ideas. 

To all her remonstrances she received no other answer 
than — 

" Mother ! Dear mother ! oh, would to God it were morn- 
ing ! " 

Elvira, whose inquietude respecting her daughter was a 
great obstacle to her perfect re-establishment, was still labor- 
ing under the effects of her late severe illness. She was 
this evening more than usually indisposed, and retired to 
bed before her accustomed hour. Antonia withdrew from 
her mother's chamber with regret, and, till the door closed, 
kept her eyes fixed upon her with melancholy expression. 
She retired to her own apartment ; her heart was filled with 
bitterness. It seemed to her that all her prospects were 
blasted, and the world contained nothing for which it was 
worth "existing. She sank into a chair, reclined her head 
upon her arm, and gazed upon the floor with a vacant stai-e, 
while the most gloomy images floated before her fancy. 
She was still in this state of insensibility, when she was dis- 
turbed by hearing a strain of soft music breatlied beneath 



THE FEMALE MONK 265 

her window. She rose, drew iK';ir the casement, and opened 
it to hear it more distinct!}'. Having thrown her veil over 
her face, she ventured to loolc out. By tlie liglit of tlie 
moon she perceived several men below with guitars and lutes 
in their hands ; and at a little distance from them stood 
another wrapped in his cloak, whose stature and appearance 
bore a strong resemblances to Lorenzo's. She was not de- 
ceived in this conjecture. It was_ indeed Lorenzo himself, 
who, bound by his word not to present himself to Antonia 
without his uncle's consent, endeavored, by occasional sere- 
nades, to convince his mistress that his attachment still ex- 
isted. His stratagem had not the desired effect. Antonia 
was far from supposing that this nightly music was intended 
as a compliment to her. She was too modest to think her- 
self worthy such attentions ; and concluding them to be ad- 
dressed to some neighboring lady, she grieved to find that 
they were offered by Lorenzo. 

The air which was plaj-ed was plaintive and melodious. 
It accorded with the state of Antonia's mind, and she listened 
with pleasure. After a sj'mphony of some length it was suc- 
ceeded by the sound of voices, and Antonia distinguished 
the words of a lovely serenade. 

The music ceased ; the performers dispersed, and silence 
prevailed through the street. Antonia quitted her window 
with regret. She, as usual, recommended herself to the pro- 
tection of St. Eosolia, said her accustomed prayers, and re- 
tired to bed. Sleep was not long absent, and his presence 
relieved her from her terrors and inquietude. 

It was almost tAVO o'clock before the monk ventured to 
bend his steps towards Antonia's dwelling. It has been al- 
ready mentioned that the abbej' was at no great distance 
from the strada di San lago. He reached the house unob- 
sei'ved. Here he stopped, and hesitated for a moment. He 
reflected on the enormity of the crime, the consequences of 
a discovery, and the probability, after what has passed, of 



266 ROSAKio, or; 

Elvira's suspecting him to be her daughter's betrayer. On 
the other hand it was suggested that she could do no more 
than suspect ; that no proofs of his guilt could be produced ; 
that it would seem impossible for the crime to have been 
committed without Antonia's knowing when, where, or by 
whom ; and finally, he believed that his fame was too firmly 
established to be shaken by the unsupported accusations of 
two unknown women. This latter argument was perfectly 
false. He knew not how uncertain is the air of popular ap- 
plause, and that a moment suffices to make him to-day the 
detestation of the world who yesterday was its idol. The 
result of the monk's deliber£ition was, that he should pro- 
ceed in his enterprise. He ascended the steps, leading to 
the house. No sooner did he touch the door with the silver 
myrtle, than it flew open, and presented him with a free 
passage. He entered, and the door closed after him of its 
own accord. 

Guided by the moonbeams, he proceeded np the staircase 
with slow and cautions steps. He looked round him every 
moment with apprehension and anxiety. He saw a spy in 
every shadow, and heard a voice in every murmur of the 
night-breeze. Consciousness of the guilty business in which 
he was employed appalled his heart, and rendered it more 
timid than a woman's. Yet still he proceeded. He reached 
the door of Antonia's chamber. He stopped, and listened. 
All was hushed within. The total silence persuaded him 
that liis intended victim was retired to rest, and he ventured 
to lift up the latch. The door was fastened, and resisted 
his efforts. But no sooner whs it touched by the talisman, 
than the bolt flew back. The criminal monk stepped on, 
and found himself in the chamber, where slept the innocent 
girl, unconscious how dangerous a visitor was drawing near 
the couch. The door closed alter him, and the bolt shot 
again into its fastening. 

Aml)rosio n<lvaneod with precaution. He took care that 



THE FEMALE MONK 267 

not a board should creak under his foot, aud held in his 
breath as he approached the bed. His first attention was to 
perform the magic ceremony, as Matilda had charged him : 
he breathed thrice upon the silver myrtle, pronounced OA'er 
it Autonia's name, and laid it upon her pillow. The effects 
wliich it had already produced permitted not his doubting its 
success in prolonging the slumbers of his devoted mistress. 
]^o sooner was the enchantment performed, than he con- 
sidered her to be absolutelj" in bis power, and now ventured 
to cast a glai>ce upon the sleeping beauty. A single lamp, 
burning before the statue of St. Eosolia, shed a faint light 
through the room, and permitted liim to examine the beauty 
of the lovely face before him. She lay with her cheek re- 
clining upon one ivory arm : the other rested on the side of 
the bed with graceful indolence. A few tresses of lier hair 
had escaped from beneath the muslin which confined the 
rest, and fell carelessh' over her bosom, as it heaved with 
slow and regular suspiration. The warm air had spread her 
cheek with higher color than usual. A smile, inexpressibly 
sweet played round her ripe and coral lips, from which every 
now and then escaped a gentle sigh, or a half-pronounced 
sentence. An air of enchanting innocence and candor per- 
vaded her whole form. The monk stood before her, trembling 
with excitement. 

" Gracious God ! " exclaimed a voice behind him ; " Am 
I not deceived ? Is not this an illusion ? " 

Terror, confusion, and disappointment accompanied these 
words, as they struck Ambrosio's hearing. He started and 
turned towards it. Elvira stood at the door of tlie chamber, 
and regarded the monk with looks of surprise and detesta- 
tion. 

A frightful dream had represented to her Antonia on the 
verge of a precipice. She saw her trembling on the brink ; 
every moment seemed to threaten her fall, and she heard her 
exclaim with shi-ieks, " Save me, mother ! save me ! Yet a 



268 KOSARio ; or, 

moment, and it Tvill be too late." Elvira awoke in terror. 
Tlie vision bad made too strong' an impression upon her mind, 
to iiormit her resting till assured of her daughter's safety. 
She hastily started from her bed, threw on a loose night- 
gown, and passing through the closet in which slept the 
waiting-woman, reached Antouia's chamber just in time to 
rescue her from the grasp i i tlio ravisher. 

His shame and hor amazement seemed to have petrilied 
into statues both Elvira and the monk. They remained 
gazing upon each other in silence. Tlie lady was the first to 
recover herself. 

" It is no dream," she cried ; " it is really ^Vmbrosio who 
stands before me. It is the man whom Madrid esteems a 
saint, that I find at this late hour near the couch pf my un- 
happy child. Monster of hypocrisy ! I already suspected 
your designs, but forbore your accusation in pity to human 
frailty. Silence would now be criminal. The whole city 
shall be informed of your incontinence. I will unmask you, 
villain, and convince the Church what a viper ske cherishes 
in her bosom." 

Pale and confused, the baffled culprit stood trembling be- 
fore her. He would fain have extenuated his offense, but 
could find no apology for his conduct. He could produce 
nothing but broken sentences, and excuses which contra- 
dicted each other. Elvira was too justly incensed to grant 
the pardon which he requested. She protested that she 
would raise the neighborhood, and make him an example to 
all future hypocrites. Then hastening to the bed, she called 
to Antonia to walie ; i.nd finding that her voice had no effect, 
she took her arm, and raised it forcibly from the pillow. 
The charm operated too powerfully. Antonia remained in- 
sensible ; and, on being released by her mother, sank back 
upon the pillow. 

"This slumber cannot be natural," cried the amaxed 
Elvira, whose indignation increased with every moment: 



THE FEMALE MONK 269 

" some mystery is concealed m it. But tremble, hypocrite ! 
All your villainly shall soon lie unravelled. Help! help!" 
she exclaimed aloud. " Within there I Flora ! Flora ! " 

" Hear me for one moment, lady ! " cried tlie monk, re- 
stored to himself by the urgency of the danger • "by all that 
is sacred and holj', I swear that j-our daughter's honor is 
still unviolated. Forgive my transgression ! Spare u)e the 
shame of a discovery, and permit me to legain the abbey 
undisturbed. Grant me this request in mercy ! I promise 
not only that Antonia sluall be secure from me in future, but 
that the rest of my life sliall prove — " 

Elvira interrupted him abruptly. 

"Antonia secuio from j'ou? I will secure her. You shall 
betray no longer the confidence of parents. Your iniquity 
shall be unveiled to the public eye. All Aladrid slia'll shud- 
der at your perfidy, your hypocrisj', and incontinence. A^']lat 
ho ! there ! Flora ! Flora ! 1 say." 

While she spoke thus, the remembrance of Agnes struck 
upon his mind. Tiius had she sued to him for mercy, and 
thus had he refused jier prayer ! It was now his turn to 
suffer, and he could not but acknowledge that his punisli- 
ment was just. In tlie meanwhile Elvira continued to call 
Flora to Iier assistance ; but her voice was so choked with 
passion that the servant, wlio was buried in profound slum- 
ber, was insensible to all her cries : Elvira dared not go to- 
wards the closet in which Flora slept, lest the monk sliould 
take that opportunity to escape. Such indeed was liis in- 
tention : he trusted tliat could lie reach the abbey unobserved 
Jby any other tlian Elvira, her single testimony would not 
suffice to ruin a reputation so well established as his was in 
Madrid. With tliis idea he gathered up such garments as 
he had already thrown off, and hastened towards the door. 
Elvira was aware of his design : she followed him, and ere 
he could draw back the bolt, seized him by the arm, and de- 
tained Mm. 



270 EOSAEio ; OR, 

" Attempt not to fly ! " said she ; " you quit not tills room 
without witnesses of your guilt." 

Ambrosio struggled In vain to disengage himself. Elvira 
quitted not her hold, bui redoubled her cries for succor. 
The friar's danger grew more urgent. He expected every 
moment to hear people assembling at her voice ; and worked 
up to madness by the approach of ruin, he adopted a resolu- 
tion equally desperate and savage. Turning round suddenly, 
with one hand he grasped Elvira's throat so as to pi'event 
her continuing her clamor, and with the other dashing her 
violently upon the ground, he dragged her towards the bed. 
Confused bj' this unexpected attack, she scarcely had power 
to strive at forcing herself from his grasp: while the monk, 
snatcliing the pillow from beneath her daughter's head, 
covering with it Elvira's face, and pressing his knee upon 
her stomach with all his strength, endeavoring to put an end 
to her existence. He succeeded but too well. Her natural 
sti-cngth increased by the excess of anguish, long did the 
sufferer straggle to disengage herself, but in vain. The 
monk continued to kneel upon her bresist, witnessed without 
mercj' the convulsive trembling of her limbs beneath him, 
and sustained with inhuman firmness the spectacle of her 
agonies, wlien soul and body were on the point of separating. 
Those agonies at length were over. She ceased to struggle 
for life. The monk took off the pillow, and gazed upon her. 
Her face was covered with a frightful blackness : her limbs 
moved no more : the blood was chilled in her veins : her 
heart had forgotten to beat ; and her hands were stiff and 
frozen. Ambrosio beheld before him that once noble and 
majestic form, now become a corpse, cold, senseless, and 
disgusting. 

This horrible act was no sooner perpetrated, than the friar 
beheld the enormity of his crime. A cold dew flowed over 
his limbs : his eyes closed : he staggered to a chair, and 
sank into it almost as lifeless as the unfortunate who lay ex- 



i 




•■■3il;'.v 



THE FEMALE MONK 



271 



tended at his feet. From this state he was roused bj' the 
necessity of flight, and tlie danger of being found in An- 
tonia's apartment. He had no desire to proflt by the ex- 
ecution of his crime. Antonia now appeared to him an ob- 
ject of disgust. A deadly cold had usurped the place of 
that warmth which glowed in his bosom. No ideas offered 
themselves to his mind but those of death and gnilt, of 
present shame and future punishment. Agitated by remorse 
and fear, he prepared for flight : j'et his terrors did not so 
completely master his recollection, as to prevent his talcing 
the precautions necessary for his safety. He replaced the 
pillow upon the bed, gathered up his garments, and, with 
the fatal talisman in his hand, bent his unsteady steps to- 
wards the door. Bewildered by fear, he fancied that his 
flight was opposed by legions of phantoms. Wherever lie 
turned, the disfigured corpse seemed to lie in his passu ge, 
and it was long before he succeeded in reaching tiie door. 
The enchanted myrtle produced its former effect. The door 
opened, and he hastened down the staircase. He entered 
the abbey unobserved ; and having shut himself into his cell, 
he abandoned his soul to the tortures of unavailing remorse, 
and terrors of impending detection 





Ambkosio shuLlderecl ;it himself when he reflected on his 
rapid advances in iniquity. The enornions crime which he 
liad just committed, filled him with real liorror. The mur- 
dered Elvira was continnally before liis eyes, and his guilt 
was already punished by the agonies of his conscience. 
Time, however, considerably weakened these impressions ; 
one day passed away ; another followed it, and still not the 
least suspicion was thrown upon him. Impunity reconciled 
him to his guilt. He began to resume his spirits ; and as 
his fears of detection died away, he paid less attention to 
the reproaches of remorse. Matilda exerted herself to quiet 
his alarms. At the first intelligence of Elvira's death, she 
seemed greatly affected, and joined the monk in deploring 
the inihappy catastrophe of his adventure ; but when she 
found his agitation to be somewhat calmed, and himself 
better disposed to listen to her arguments, she proceeded to 
mention his offense in milder terms, and convince him that 
he was not so highly culpable as he appeared to consider 
himself. She represented that he had only availed himself 
of the rights which nature allows to everyone, those of self- 
preservation ; that either Elvira or himself must have per- 
ished ; and that her inflexibility and resolution to ruin him 
had deservedly marked her out for the victim. She next 



THE FEMALE MONK 273 

stated, that as he had hofore rendered himself suspected to 
Elvira, it was a fortunate event for him that her lips were 
closed by death ; since without this last adventure, her sus- 
picions, if made public, might have produced very disagree- 
able consequences. He had therefore freed himself from an 
enemy, to whom the errors of his conduct were sufficiently 
known to malce her dangerous, and who was the greatest 
obstacle to his designs upon Antonia. Those designs she en- 
couraged him not to abandon. She assured him that, no 
longer protected by her mother's watchful eye, the daughter 
would fall an easy conquest ; and by praising and euumerat- 
ing Antonia's charms, she strove to rekindle the desires of 
the monk. In tliis endeavor she succeeded but too well. 

As if the crimes into which his passion had seduced him 
had only increased its violence, he longed more eagerly than 
ever to enjoy Antonia. Tlie same success in concealing his 
present guilt, he trusted, would attend his future. He was 
deaf to the murmurs of conscience, and resolved to satisfy 
his desires at any price. He waited only for an opportunity 
of repeating his former enterprise ; but to procure that op- 
portunity by the san)e means was now impracticable. In 
the first ti'ansports of despair he had dashed the enchanted 
myrtle into a thousand pieces. Matilda told him plainly 
that he must expect no further assistance from tlie infernal 
powers, unless he was willing to subscribe to their estab- 
lished conditions. This Ambrosio was determined not to 
do. He persuaded himself that, however great may be his 
iniquity, so long as he preserved his claim to salvation, he 
need not despair of pardon. He therefore resolutely refused 
to enter into any bond or compact with the fiends ; and Ma- 
tilda, finding him obstinate upon this point, forbore to press 
him further. She exerted her invention to discover some 
means of putting Antonia into the abbot's power ; nor was 
it long before that means presented itself. 

While her ruin was thus meditating, the unhappy girl her- 

ROSAKIO IS 



274 KOSAKio ; or, 

self suffered severely from the loss of her mother. Every 
morning on waking, it was her first care to hasten to Elvira's 
chamber. On that which followed Ambrosio's fatal visit, 
she awoke later than was her usual custom ; of this she was 
convinced by the abbey chimes. She started from her bed, 
threw on a few loose garments hastily, and was speeding to 
inquire how her mother had passed the night, when her foot 
struck against something which lay in her passage. She 
looked down. What was her horror at recognizing Elvira's 
livid corpse ! She uttered a loud shriek, and threw herself 
upon the floor. She clasped the inanimate form to her 
bosom, felt that it was dead-cold, and, with a movement of 
disgust, of which she was not the mistress, let it full again 
from her arms. Tlie cry had alarmed Flora, who had hast- 
ened to her assistance. The sight which she beheld pene- 
trated her with horror ; but her alarm was more audible than 
Antonia's. She made the house ring with her lamentations, 
while her mistress, almost suffocated with grief, could only 
iiuirk her distress by sobs and groans. Flora's shi'ieks soon 
reached the ears of the hostess, whose terror and surprise 
wore excessive on learning the cause of this disturbance. A 
pliysician was immediately sent for ; but, on the first mo- 
niLMit of beholding the corpse, he declared that Elvira's re- 
covery was beyond the power of art. He proceeded there- 
fore to give his assistance to Antonia, who by this time was 
truly in need of it. She was conveyed to bed, while the 
landlady busied herself in giving orders for Elvira's burial. 
Dame Jacintha was a plain, good kind of woman, charitable, 
generous, and devout ; but her intellects were weak, and 
she was a miserable slave to fear and superstition. She 
shuddered at the idea of passing the night in the same house 
witli a dead body. She was persuaded that Elvira's ghost 
would appear to her, and no less certain that such a visit 
would kill her with fright. From tliis persuasion, she re- 
solved to pass the night at a neighbor's, and insisted that 



THE FEMALE MONK 275 

tjie funeral should take place the next day. St. Clare's 
cemetery being the nearest, it was deterniined that Elvira 
should be buried tljcre. Dame Jaciutha engaged to dei'i'iiy 
every expense attending the burial. She knew not in what 
circumstances Antonia was left ; but from the sparing man- 
ner in which the family had lived, she concluded them to be 
indifferent ; consequently she entertained very little hope of 
ever being recompensed. But this consideration prevented 
her not from taking care that the interment was performed 
with decency, and from showing the unfortunate Antonia 
all possible respect. 

Nobody dies of mere grief ; of this Antonia was an in- 
stance. Aided by her youth and healthy constitution, she 
sliookoff the malady which her mother's death had occasioned ; 
but it was not easy to remove the disease of her mind. Her 
eyes were constantly filled with tears ; everj' trifle affected 
her, and she evidently nourished in her bosom a profound 
and rooted melanchol}'. The slightest mention of Elvira, 
the most trivial circumstance recalling that beloved parent 
to her memory, was snflflcient to throw her into serious agita- 
tion. How much would her grief have been indulged, had 
she known the agonies which terminated her mother's ex- 
istence ! But of this no owe entertained the least suspicion. 
Elvira was subject to strong convulsions ; it was supposed 
that, aware of their approach, she had dragged herself to 
her daughter's chamber in hopes of assistance ; that a sud- 
den access of her fits had seized her, too violent to be re- 
sisted by her already enfeebled state of health ; and that she 
had expired ere she had time to reach the medicine wdiich 
generally relieved her, and which stood upon a shelf in An- 
tonia's room. This idea was firmly credited by the few 
people who interested themselves about Elvira. Her death 
was esteemed a natural event, and soon forgotten by all, 
save by her who had but too much reason to deplore her 
loss. 



^76 ROSARio ; OR, 

111 truth, Antonia's sitiuitiou was sufficiently enibarrassiug 
and unpleasant. She was alone, in the midst of a dissipated 
and expensive city ; she was ill provided with money, and 
worse with friends. Her aunt Leonella was still at Cordova, 
and she knew not her direction. Of the Marquis de las Cis- 
ternas she heard no news. As to Lorenzo, she had long 
given up the idea of possessing any interest in his bosom. 
She knew not to whom she could address herself in her pres- 
ent dilemma. She wished to consult Ambrosio, but she re- 
membered lier mother's injunctions to shun him as much as 
possible ; and the last conversation which Elvira had held 
with her upon the subject, had given her sufficient lights 
respecting his designs, to put her upon her guard against 
liim in future. Still all her mother's warnings could not 
make lier change her good opinion of the friar. She con- 
tinued to feel that his friendship and society were requisite 
to her happiness ; she looked upon his failings with a par- 
tial eye, and could not persuade herself that he really had 
intended her ruin. However, Elvira had positively com- 
manded her to drop his acquaintance, and she had too much 
respect for her orders to disobey them. 

At length she resolved to address herself for advice and 
protection to the Marquis de las Cisternas, as being her 
nearest relation. She wrote to him, briefly stating her desol- 
ate situation ; she besouglit him to compassionate his brother's 
child, to continue to her Elvira's pension, and to authorize 
her retiring to his old castle in Murcia, which till now had 
been her retreat. Having sealed her letter, she gave it to 
the trusty Flora, who immediately set out to execute her 
commission. But Antonia was born under an unlucky star. 
Had she made her application to tiie marquis but one day 
sooner, received as his niece, and placed at the head of his 
family, she would have escaped all the misfortunes with 
which she was now threatened. R.aymond had always in- 
tended to execute this plan ; but first, his hopes of making 



THE FEMALE MONK 277 

the proposal to Elvira through the lips of Agnes, and after- 
wards his disappointment at losing his intended bride, as 
well as the severe illness Avhich for some time had confined 
him to his bed, )nade him defer from day to day the giving 
au asylum in his house to his l)rother's widow. He had com- 
missioned Lorenzo to supply her liberally with money. But 
IClvha, unwilling to receive obligations from that nobleman, 
had assured him that she needed no immediate pecuniary as- 
sistance. Consequently the marquis did not imagine that a 
trilling delay on his part would create any embarrassment ; 
and the distress and agitation of his mind might well excuse 
his negligence. 

Had he been informed that Etvira's death had left her 
daughter friendless and unprotected, he would doubtless 
have taken such measures as would have en-sured her from 
every danger. But Antonia was not destined to be so foi-- 
tunate. The day on which she sent her letter to the ralace 
de las CJsternas, was that following Lorenzo's depai»ture 
from Madrid. The marquis was in the first paroxysms of 
despair at the conviction that Agnes was indeed no more ; 
he was delirious ; and, his life being in danger, no one was 
suffered to approach him. Flora was informed that he was 
incapable of attending to letters, and that probably a few 
hours would decide his fate. With this unsatisfactory an- 
swer she was obliged to return to her mistress, who now 
found herself plunged in-to greater difficulties than ever. 

Flora and Dame Jacintha exerted themselves to console 
her. The latter begged her to make herself easy, for that 
as long as she chose to stay with her she would treat her 
like her own child. Antonia, finding that the good woman 
had taken a real affection for her, was somewhat comforted 
ly thinking that she had at least one friend in the world. 
A letter was now brought to her, directed to Elvira. She 
recognized Leonella's writing, and, opening it with joy, 
found a detailed account of her aunt's adventures at Cor- 



278 KOSARIO ; OR, 

dova. She infoniicd her sister that she had recovered her 
legac}', had lost her heart, and had reeeived in exchange 
that of the most amiable of apothecaries, past, present, and 
to come. She added, that she sliould he at IMadrid on the 
Tuesday night, and meant to liave the pleasure of present- 
ing her Vitro sjmso in foi'ni. Tliongli her nuptials weiie far 
from pleasing to Antonia, Leonella's speedy return gave her 
niece nuich delight. She rejoiced in thinking that she should 
once more be under a relation's care. She could not but 
judge it to be highly improper for a young wouiau to be 
living among absolute strangers, with no one to regulate 
her conduct, or protect her from the insults to which in her 
defenseless situation slie was exposed. She tlierefore looked 
forward with patience to the Tuesday night. 

It arrived. Antonia listened anxiously to the carriages 
as they rolled along the street. None of them stopped, and 
it grew late without Leont'lla's appearing. Still Antonia 
resolved to sit up till her aunt's arrival ; and in spite of all 
her remonstrances. Dame Jacintha and Flora insisted upon 
doing the same. The hours passed on slow and tediously. 
Lorenzo's departure from Madrid had put a stop to the 
nightly serenades : she hoped in vain to hear the usual sound 
of guitars beneath her window. Slie took up her own, and 
struck a few chords ; but nmsic tliat evening had lost its 
charms for her, and she soon replaced the instrument in its 
case. She seated herself at her embroidery frame, but 
nothing went right: the silks wei-e missing, tlie thread 
snapped every moment, and the needles were so expert at 
falling that they seemed to be aunnated. At leligtli a fiako 
of wax fell from the taper wliich stood near her, upon a 
favorite wreath of violets : tliis eomiiletely discomposed her ; 
she threw down her needle, and quitted the frame. It was 
decreed for that night nothing should have the jiower of 
amusing her. She was the prey of ennui, and employed 



THE FEMALE MONK 279 

herself in making fruitless wishes for the arrival of her 
aunt. 

As she walked with a listless air up and down the cliam- 
ber, the door caught her ej-e coudiicting to that which had 
been her mother's. She remembered that Elvira's little 
library was arranged there, and tliouglit tliat she might 
possibly find in it some book to ainnse lier till' Leouella 
should arrive. Accordingly she took her taper from the 
table, passed through the little closet, and entered the ad- 
joining apartment. As she looked around her, the sight of 
this room brought to her recollection a thousand painful 
ideas. It was the first time of her entering it since her 
mother's death. The total silence prevailing through the 
chamber, the bed despoiled of its furniture, the cheerless 
hearth where stood an extinguished lamp, and a few dyino- 
plants in the window, which since Elvira's loss had been 
neglected, inspired Antonia with a melancholy awe. The 
gloom of night gave strength to this sensation. She placed 
her light upon the table, and sank into a large chair, in 
which she had seen her mother seated a thousand au(^ a 
thousand times. She was never to see iier seated there 
again ! Tears unbidden streamed down her cheek, and she 
abandoned herself to the sadness wjiich greA\- deeper every 
moment. 

Antonia had naturally a strong inclination to the marvel- 
lous ; and her nurse, who believed lirnilj' in apparitions, had 
related to her, when an infant, so many horrible adventures, 
that all Elvira's attempts had failed to eradicate their im- 
pressions from her daughter's mind. Antonia still nourished 
a superstitious prejudice in lier bosom ; she was often sus- 
ceptible of terrors, wliicii, when she discoveied their natural 
and insignificant cause, m.'ule her blusli at her own weakness. 
With such a turn of mind, a tragic adventure she had recently 
been reading sufficed to give her apprehensions the alarm. 
The hour and the scene combined to authorize them. It was 



280 ROSARio ; OR, 

the dead of night ; she was alone, and in the chamber once 
occupied by her deceased mother. The weather was com- 
fortless and stormy ; the wind howled around the house, the 
doors rattled in their frames, and the heavy rain pattered 
against the windows. Noothersouud was heard. The taper, 
now burnt down to the socket, sometimes flaring upwards, 
shot a gleam of light through the room, then sinking again 
seemed upon the point of expiring. Antonia's heart throbbed 
with agitation ; her eyes wandering fearfully over the objects 
around her, as the trembling flame illuminated them at inter- 
vals. She attempted to rise from her seat, but her limbs 
trembled so violently that she was unable to proceed. She 
then called Flora, who was in a room at no great distance ; 
but agitation choked her voice, and her cries died away in 
hollow murmurs. 

She passed some minutes in this situation, after which her 
terrors began to diminish. She strove to recover herself, 
and acquire strength enough to quit the room. Suddenly 
she fancied that she heard a low sigh draw near her. This 
idea brought back her former weakness. She had already 
raised herself from her seat, and was on the point of taking 
the lamp from the table. The imaginary noise stopped her ; 
she drew back her hand, and supported lierself upon the back 
of a chair. She listened anxiously, but nothing more was 
heard. 

" Gracious God ! " she said to herself, "what could be that 
sound? Was I deceived, or did I really hear it?" 

Her reflections were interrupted by a voice at the door 
scarcely audible ; it seemed as if somebody was whispering. 
Antonia's alarm increased ; yet the bolt she knew to be 
fastened, and this idea in some degree reassured her. Pres- 
ently the latch was lifted up softly, and the door moved with 
caution backwards and forwards. Excess of terror now 
supplied Antonia with that strength of which she had till 
then been deprived. She started from her place, and made 



THE FEMALE MONK 281 

towards the closet door, whence she might soon have reached 
the chamber where she expected to find Flora and D:\iiie 
Jacintha. Scarcely had she reached tlie middle of the room, 
when the latch was lifted np a second time. An involuntary 
movement obliged her to turn lier head. Slowly and gradu- 
ally the door turned upon its hinges, and standing upon the 
threshold she beheld a tall thin figure, wrapped in a white 
shroud which covered it from head to foot. 

This vision arrested her feet ; she remained as if petrified 
in the middle of the apartment. The stranger, with measured 
and solemn steps drew near the table . The dying taper darted 
a blue and melanclioly flame as the figure advanced towards 
it. Over the table was fixed a small clock ; the hand of it 
was upon the stroke of three. The figure stopped opposite 
to the clock ; it raised its right arm, and pointed to the hour, 
at the same time looking earnestly upon Autouia, who waited 
for the conclusion of this scene, motionless and silent. 

The figure remained in this posture for some moments. 
The clock struck. When tlie sound bad ceased, the stranger 
advanced yet a few steps nearer Antonia. 

"Yet three days," said a faint voice, hollow and sepulchral ; 
" yet three days, and we meet again ! " 

Antonia shuddered at the words. 

"We meet again ? " she pronounced at length with difficulty. 
"Where shall we meet? Whom shall T meet?" 

The figure pointed to the ground with one hand, and with 
the other raised the linen which covered its face. 

" Almighty God ! My mother ? " 

Antonia shrieked, and fell lifeless upon tlie floor. 

Dame Jacintha, who was at work in a neighboring cham- 
ber, was alarmed by the cry ; Flora was just gone downstairs 
to fetch fresh oil for the lamp by which they liad been sitting. 
Jacintha therefore hastened alone to Antonia's assistance, 
and great was her amazement to find her extended upon the 
floor. She raised her in her arms, conveyed her to her apart- 



282 Kos vRio ; or, 

iiiont, and phicod lior upon the binl, still sensoloss. She tlien 
pioeoodod to bathe lior toiu|ilos, chafe her hands, and use all 
possible means of bringin>i lier to herself. With some 
difflculty she succeeded. Antonia opened her eyes, and 
looked around her wildly- 

" Where is she?" she cried, in a trembling voice ; " is she 
none? Ami safe? Speak to me! Ci>nifortme! Oh ! si)eak 
to me, for (Jod's sake ! " 

"Safe from whom, my child?" replied the astonished .la- 
ciiitha. "What alarms you? Of whom are j'ou afraid?" 

" In three days ! She told me that we shonld meet in three 
days! I heard her say it! 1 saw her, Jacintha; I saw he 
but this moment ! " 

She threw herself upon .laeintha's bosom. 

" Yon saw her? — saw whom?" 

" Sly mother's giiost I "' 

"t'hrist Jesus!" cried .lacintha; and, starlins from the 
bed, let fall Antonia upon the pillow, and tU'd in consternation 
out of the room. 

As she iiastened downstairs, siie met Flora ascending them. 

"Go lo your mistress. Flora," said she; "here are rare 
doings ! Oh ! 1 am the most unfortunate wonnwi alive ! INI y 
liouse is filled with ghosts and dead bodies, and the Lord 
knows what besides ; yet 1 am sure nobody likes such com- 
pany less than 1 do. Uut go your way to Donna Antonia, 
Flora, and let nie go mine." 

Thus saying, she eoMtinued her course lo the street Joor, 
wliieh she opened ; and, without, allowing herself time to throw 
on her oil, she made the best of her way to the Capuchin 
abbey. In th'C meanwhile, l-'lora hastened lo her lady's 
ehainlier, equally surprised and alarmed at Jacintlia's con- 
sternation. She found Antonia lying upon the bed, insen- 
sible. She used the same meaijs for her recovery that.lacinlha 
had already employed ; but (inding that her mistress only re- 
covered from one lit to fall into another, she sent in nil haste 



rHE FEMALE MONK 283 

for a physifian. While expecting Ills aiTival, she undressed 
Anton ill, and fonveyed her to bed. 

Heedless of the storm, terrified almost out of her senses, 
Jaeintha ran through the streets, and stopped not till she 
reached the g;iti; of the ihljey. She rang loudly at the bell : 
and as soon as the pojfer appeared, slie desired permission 
to sjieak to the superior. A nibrosio was tiien conferring with 
]Matii(laupoii tlie iik aiisof procuring access to Antonia. The 
cause of Elvii'a's death remaining unknown, he was convinced 
that crimes wer(; not so swiftly followed by punishment as 
his instiiictors the monks Iiad taught him, and as till then he 
had himself believed. This persuasion made him resolve upon 
Antoiiia's ruin, for tlie enjoyment of whose person dangers 
and diflicnlty only seemed to liavc increased his passion. 
Tlie monk liad already made one attempt to gain admission to 
her [iresence ; but Flora had refused him in such a manner as 
to convince him that all future endeavors must be vain. El- 
vira had confided her suspicions to tiiat trusty seivant ; she had 
desired her nevei- to leave Ambrosio alone with her daughter, 
and, if possible, to prevent their meeting altogether. Flora 
promised to obey her, and had executed her orders to the 
very letter. Ambrosio's visit had been rejected that morn- 
ing, though Antonia was ignorant of it. He saw that to 
obtain a sight of his mistress by open means was out of the 
question ; and both himself and ^Matihla hml consumed the 
night in endeavoring to invent some new plan, wljose event 
might be more successful. Such was their employment when 
a lay-brother entered the abbot's cell, and informed him that 
a woman calling herself Jaeintha Zuniga requested audience 
for a few minutes. 

Ambrosio was by no means disposed to grant the petition 
of his visitor. He refused it positively, and bade the lay- 
brother tell the stranger to return the next day. Matilda 
interrupted him, — 



284 BOSARio ; OR, 

" See this woman," said slie, in a low voice ; " I have my 
reasons." 

The abbot obeyed her, and signified that he would go to 
the parlor immediately. With this answer the lay-brother 
withdrew. As soon as they were alone, Ambrosio inquired 
why Matilda wished him to see this Jacintha. 

"She is Antonia's hostess," replied Matilda; "she may 
possibly be of use to you, but let us examine her, and learn 
what brings her hither." 

They proceeded together to the parlor, where .Jacintha was 
already waiting for the abbot. She had conceived a great 
opinion of his piety and virtue ; and supposing him to have 
much influence over the devil, thought that it must be an easy 
matter for him to lay I{;ivira's ghost in the Red Sea. Filled 
with this persuasion, she had hastened to the abbey. As 
soon as she saw the monk enter the parlor, she dropped upon 
Ju^r knees, and began her story as follows : — 

" Oh ! reverend father ! suck an accident ' such an adven- 
ture ! I know not wliat course to take ; and unless you can 
help me, I shall certainly go distracted. Well, to be sure, 
never was woman so unfortunate as myself ! All in my power 
to keep clear of such abomination have I done, and yet that 
all is too little. What signifies my telling my beads four 
times a day, and observing every fast prescribed by tlie 
calendar? What signifies my having made tln-ee pilgrimages 
to St. James of Compostella, and purchased as many pardons 
from the pope as would buy off Cain's punishment ? Nothing 
prospers with me ! all goes wrong, and God only knows 
whether anything will ever go right again ! Wh.y now, be 
your holiness the judge — my lodger dies in convulsions ; out 
of pure kindness I bury her at my own expense ; [not that 
she is any relation of mine, or that I shall be benefited a 
pistole by her deatli : I got nothing by it, and therefore you 
know, reverend fatlier, that her living or dying was just the 
same to me. But that is nothing to the purpose ; to return 



THE FEMALE MONK 285 

to what I was saying], I took care of her funeral, had every- 
thing performed decently and properly, and put myself to 
expense enough, God knows ! And how do yon think the 
lady repays me for my kindness? Why, truly by refusing 
to sleep quietly in her comfortable deal coflfin, as a peaceable, 
well-disposed spirit ought to do, and coming to plague nie, 
who never wish to set eyes on her again. Forsooth it well 
becomes her to go racketing about my house at midnight, 
popping into her daiigliter's room through the keyhole, and 
frightening the poor child out of her wits ! Though she be 
a ghost, she might be more civil than to bolt into a person's 
house who likes her company so little. But as for me, 
reverend father, the plain state of the case is this : if she 
walks into my house, I must walk out of it, for I cannot 
abide such visitors — not I. Thu's you see, your sanctity, 
that without youi- assistance I am ruined, and undone for 
ever. I shall be obliged to quit my house : nobody will take 
it, when 'tis known that she haunts it, and then I shall find 
myself in a fine situation. Miserable woman that I am ! 
what shall I do? what will become of me?" 

Here she wept bitterlj\ wrung her hands, and begged to 
know the abbot's opinion of lier case. 

" In truth, good woman," replied he, " it will be difficult 
for me to relieve you, without knowing what is tiie matter 
with you. You have forgotten to tell me what has happened, 
and what it is you want." 

" Let me die," cried Jaeintha, but your sanctity is in the 
right. This, then, is the fact stated briefly : A lodger of 
mine is lately dead; a very good sort of woman, that I must 
needs say for her, as far as my knowledge of her went, 
though that was not a great way. She kept me too much 
at a distance ; for indeed she was given to be upon tlie high 
ropes ; and whenever I ventured to speak to her, she had a 
look with her which always made me feel a little queerisii ; 
God forgive me for saying so ! However, though she was 



286 ROSARio ; or, 

more stately than needful, and affected to look down upon 
iiie (though, if I aui well informed, I come of as good parents 
as siie could do for her cars, for her father was a shoemaker 
at Cordova, and mine was a hatter at Madrid — ay, and a 
very creditable hatter too, let me tell you), yet for all her 
pride she was a quiet, well-behaved body, and I never wish 
to have a better lodger. This makes mo wonder the more at 
her not sleeping quietly in her grave ; but there is no trusting 
to people in this world. For uiy part, I never saw her do 
amiss, except on the Friday before her death. To be sure, 
I was then nuich scandalized by seeing her eat the wing of a 
chicken. ' How, Madonna Flora ! ' quoth I, ' does your 
mistress eat flesh upon Fridays? "Well, well, see the event, 
and then remember that Dame Jacintha warned j'ou of it ! ' 
These were my ver^y words ; but, alas ! I might as well have 
held nij' tongue. Nobodj' minded me; and Flora, who is 
somewhat pert and snappish (more is the pity, say I), told 
me that there was no more harm in eating a chicken than 
the egg from which it came : naj-, she even declared that if 
her lady added a slice of bacon, she would not be an inch 
nearer damnation. God protect us ! a poor ignorant, sinful 
soul ! I protest to 3'our holiness, I trembled to hear her utter 
such blasphemies, and expected every moment to see the 
gi'ound open and swallow her up, chicken and all ; for you 
must know, worshipful father, that while she talked thus, 
she held the plate in her hand on which lay the identical roast 
fowl ; and a fine bird it was, that I must say for it — done to 
a turn, for I superintended tlie cooking of it myself. It was a 
little Gallieian of my own raising, may it please your holiness, 
and the flesh was as white as an egji' shell, as indeed Donna 
Elvira told me herself. ' Dame Jacintha,' said she, very 
good-humoredly, though to srt'y the tinth slie was always 
very polite to me — " 

I-Ieie Ambrosio's patience failed him. Eager to know 
Jacintha's business, in wliieh Antonia seemed to be con- 



THE FEMALE MOXK 287 

Corned, he was almost lUstracted while listening to the 
rambling of this prosing old woman. He iuteiTiipted hei-, 
and protested that if slie did not immediately tell her story 
and have done with it, he should quit the parlor, and leave 
her to get out of her difficulties by herself. This threat had 
the desired effect. Jaeintha related her business in as few 
words as she could manage ; but her account was still so 
prolix, that .Vmbrosio had need of his patifuee to bear him 
to the conclusion. 

" And so, your reverence," said she, after relating Elvira's 
death and burial, with all their circumstances — "and so, 
your rtven-uec, upon hearing the shriek, I put away mj^ work, 
ami away posted I to Donna Antonia's chamber. Finding 
nolKxly there, I passed on to the next : but I must own I was 
a little timorous at going in ; for tJiis was the very room 
where Donna Elvira used to sleep. However, in I went, and 
sure enough there lay a young lady at full lengthaipon the 
floor, as cold as a stone, and as white as a sheet. I was 
surprised at this, as your holiness maj' well suppose : but, 
oh me ! how 1 -hook when I saw a great tall figure at my 
elljow. whose head touched the ceiling ! The face was Donna 
Elvira's. I must confess : but out of its mouth came clouds 
of fire; its arms were loa<led with heavy chains, which it 
rattled piteoii^lv • and every hair on its head was a seq>ent 
as big as hjv arm. At this I was fi'ightened enough, and 
began to say my Avi-Maria : but the ghost interrupting me 
uttered tiii-ee loud iriuMiis. and roared out in a terrible voice. 
• Oh ! that chicken's wing ! mv poor soul suffers for it.' As 
>oon as she had said this, the ground opened, the spectre 
sank down ; I heard a clap fif thunder, an<l the room was 
filled with a smell of brimstone. AVhen 1 recovered from my 
fright, and had brought Dunnn Antonia to herself, who told 
me that she had cried out upon seeing her mother's ghost 
(and well might she cry, poor >r>iil : had I been in her place, 
I should have cried ten times louder) . it directly came into 



288 ROSARio ; on, 

iiiY lio:ul, that if any ono \\x\d powor to quiot tliis spootiv, it 
must. Ill' YOur vcvovoneo. So liillior 1 I'luni' in all illiiiionco, 
to bi'U' tlinl yon will .siiriulvle inv lunisu with holy walcr, and 
l;iy tho apparition in llu' l\oit Sen."" 

Anibiosio stiired at this si range story, which ho could not 
credit. 

" Did Donna Antonia also soc the ji'liosl?" said he. 

" As plain as 1 sec you. reverend father." 

Anilirosio paused for a moment. Here was an opportunity 
otTcred liiuu>f gaininij access to Anionia. hut he liesitatcil to 
employ it. The reputation which he enjoyed in Madrid was 
still dear to him ; and since he had lost the reality of virtue, 
it appeared as if its semblance was become more valuable, 
lie was conscious tlial publicly to break through the rule 
never to quit the abbey precincts would derogate much from 
his supposed austerity. In visiting' Klvira. he had always 
takei\ care to keep his features concealed from the domestics. 
Kxccpt liy the lady, her daughter, and the faithful Flora, he 
was kuowu in the family by no other name than that of Father 
Jerome. Should he comply witli .lacinllurs retinest, and ac- 
company her to her house, he knew that ihe violalii>n of his 
rule could not be kept a secret. However, his eagerness to 
sx'c Antonia obtained the victory. He even hoped that the 
singularity of this adventure would justify him in the eyes of 
Bladrid. But whatever might be the conseciucnces, he re- 
solved to profit by the opportunity which chance had presented 
to him. An expressive look from Matilda conlirmed this 
resolution. 

"(iood wonuin," said he to .lacintha, "what you tell nu> 
is so exti'aordinary, that I can scarcely credit your assertions. 
However, 1 will comply with yiMir request . To-morrow, after 
matins, you may expect, me at your house : 1 will then examine 
into what 1 can do for you ; ami if it is in my power, will free 
you from this unwelcome visitor. Now Ihen. go home, and 
peace be with you ! " 



THE FEMALE MONK 289 

" How ! " exclaimed Jacintha ; "I go Lome ! Not I, by 
my troth !— except under your protection, I set no foot of 
mine within the threshold. God help me ! the ghost may 
Hieft me iii)on the stairs, and whisk me away with her to the 
devil ! Oh ! that I had accepted young Melehior Basco's 
offer! tliea I would have had .somebody to protect me: but 
now I am a lone woman, and meet with nothing but crosses 
and misfortunes. Thank Heaven it is not yet too late to re- 
pent. Theie is Simon fJonzalez will have me any day of the 
woi'k ; and if I live till dayljreak, I will marry him out of 
hand: a husliand I will have, that is determined; for, now 
this ghost is once in my house, I shall be frightened out of 
my wits to sleep alone. But, for God's sake, reverend father ! 
come with mc now. I shall have no rest till the house is 
purified, or the young lady either. The dear girl ! she is in 
a piteous taking : I left her in strong convulsions, and I doubt 
she will not easily recover her fright." 

The friar started, and interrupted her liastily. 
" In convulsions, s;iy you? Antonia in convulsions? Lead 
on, good woman, I follow you this moment." 

Jacintha insisted upon his stopping to furnish himself 
with the vessel of Iioly water. "W'ith this request he com- 
plied. Thinking herself safe under his protection should a 
legion of ghosts attack her, tlie old woman returned the 
monk a profusion of thanks, iind tiiey depailed together for 
the stradi di San lago. 

So strong an impression h;id the spectre made upon An- 
tonia, that for the first two or three hours the physician de- 
clared her life to be in danger. The fits at length becoming 
less frequent induced him to alter his opinion. He said that 
to keep her quiet was all that was necessary ; and he ordered 
a 7nedicine to be prepared which would tranquillize her nerves, 
and procure her that repose which at present she much 
wanted. The sight of Ambrosio, who now appeared with 
Jacintha at her bedside, contributed essentially to compose 
EosABio 19 



liei" nilHod spirits. Klvira had not siilVuMoiuly oxphiiiuHl 
luM-self upon tho natiiiv of liis ilosijvns, lo iumKc rt jiirl s(i !•;- 
liorant of Mio world :is lior drtiisiliU'r :\\v;uo how d:u\s>vix>iis 
>Y!is liis aoqii:iii>l^oH>o. Al this motnout. whon ponolnilod 
wilh liorror at (ho soimio wliicli had jnsl psssod, and dvoad- 
iiiLT lo oouloniplalo tho lihost's pivdiolioii, hor hiind had iu>od 
of all liio siKvours of friondship and ivlis;ion. Aiilonia ro- 
ganlod liio ahbot wilh ail ovo douhlv partial. That, slrimsj 
propossossioii in liis favor still oxislod whioli sho had foil 
for him al lirsi siiihl : sho fanoiod. vol know not. whoivforo, 
that his prosoiioo was a sal'oi;uard to hor from ovorv danjior, 
iiisull, or misrorlimo. Sho lliaukod liim iiralofiillv for his 
visit, and ivlalod In him tho advoiituro wliioh had alarmod 
hor so sorioiisly. 

Tlio alihol sliovo lo ro-assiiro hor antl ooiiviiioo liov that, 
tho wholo had boon a doooplioii of hor ovor-hoatod t'aiiov- 
Tho solil-iido ill whioli sho had passod liio ovoiiino-, tiio jjloom 
of iii>;hl,(lio hook whioli sho hail hooii roadini;', and tho 
room ill which sho sal, woro all oalonlatod lo plaeo hol'oro 
hor siioh a vision. Ho troatod Iho idoa of ohostswilh rid- 
iciilo, and produood sti-oiiji' arouuioiits to provo tho falhioy 
of siioli a, syslom. Ills oonvorsalioii traiKiiiiUi/.od and ooni- 
forlod hor, but did not, ooiiviiioo hor. Sho oonld not holiovo 
thai tho spootro h.id boon a nioro oroaliiro of hor imas>iiialion ; 
oYoi y oiroimislaiioo was improssod upon lior mind too I'oroihly 
to poriiiit, hor llallorinji' lu'rsolf with siioli an idoa. Sho por- 
sislod in assorlinji Ihal sho liad roally soon hor molhor's 
j);hos(,, had hoard Iho poriod of liov dissolulion nniioiinood, 
and doolarod that sho should lU'vor ipiil \w\' bod alivo, .\ili- 
hrosio advisod hor ai;'aiiist ouooiirajiinj;' Ihoso sontinionls, 
and tlion qnillod hor ohambor, haviiio' promisod to ropoat, 
his visit, oil Iho morrow. Anionia roooivod this assuranoo 
wilh ovory mark of joy ; Inil iho monk oasily porooivod that, 
ho was not. otpially aoooplahlo lo hoi' allondant.. Klora 
oboyod Klvira's injiniolioMs with Uio most, sornpnlous oh- 



TIIK FEMAI.F. MOXK 2&1 

(WiTvance. Shf- (;xaiiiiri)-f1 with an anxious f;yf; e^'ery circurn- 
»tancfe likfcly in the if-iiiit to pr«giiriic<r licr yoting rni-.tiv-Hi, to 
whom she had >x;ftn att!ich<-'l for many years, ^fi' was* a 
native of Culja, ha/l followed Klvira to .S|»aiii, and loved tlie 
yonnif Antonia with a mother's affection. J-lora qnitted not 
tlw; room for a moment while the aliUA remained there : slie 
watched hi-i evcrj- word, liin every lrK»k, hin every aetion. 
Jlf- saw that lier -iHfiieions eye was always fixed npfm him ; 
and, eonsrioiis that his desiirns wonld not bear inspeetion ^o 
niinitre, lie felt frequently eonfrmed and di-^eoncerted. lie 
was aware that she doubted the purity of his intentions ; 
that she would never leave him alone with Antonia; and, 
his mlHtress defended liy the prfjsenee of tlii-. vicrilant <A>- 
«<;rA'er, he despaired of finding the means to gratify his 
passion. 

As he (juitted the house, .lac-intha met him, and be'/ged 
that soine Hiass<:s might be sting for the repose of Elvira's 
soul, wliieh she donbt*;d not was suffering in purgatory. 

lie promis<fd not to forgf-t her request : but he j^^-rfectly 
gained the old woman's heart, hy engaging to watch fhiiing 
the whole of the apj)roafching night in the haunted chamber. 
Jacintha could find no tf;rms sufficiently strong to express 
her gratitudf!, and the rnonk departed loaded with ber bene- 
dictions. 

It was broad day when he returned to the abbey. His 
first care was to communicate what ha/l pa.ssed to his con- 
fidante, f fc felt too sincere a passion for Antonia, to have 
heard unmoved the jirediction of li(-r speedy death, and he 
shuddered ut the idea of losing an ol)j<ct so dear to hirn. 
I'pon this head Matilda re-assured him. Slif: confimicd the 
aigiimeuts which himself had already used ; she declared 
Antonia to have been deceived by the wandering of her I/rain, 
by the splern which oppressed her at that rnoment, and by 
the natural turn of her mind to superstition and tjje marvel- 
loa». As to .Jacintha's account, the absurdity refOted itself. 



292 KOSARio ; or, 

The abbot hesitated not to believe that slje had fabricated 
the whole story, either eoufiised by tei-ror, or hoping to 
make liim coiiii)ly more readily with her request. Having 
over-ruled the monk's apprehensions, ;Matilda continued 
thus : 

" TJie prediction and the ghost are equally false ; but it 
m list be your care, Ambrosio, to verify flic first. Antonia 
within tln-ee days must indeed be dead to tiie world ; but she 
must live for you. Her present illness, and tliis fanej'whicli 
sHie has taken into her head, will color a plan wjiich I have 
long meditutcil, but whicii was impracticable without your 
piocuring access to Antonia. She shall be yours, not for a 
single night, but for ever. All the vigilance of her duenna 
sliall not avail her. You shall riot unrestrained in the charms 
of your mistress. This veiy day must tjie sclieme be put in 
execution, for you have no time to lose. The nephew of 
the Duke of Medina Cell prepares to demand Antonia for 
his bride ; in a few days she will be removed to the palace 
of her relation, the Marquis de las C'isternas, and there she 
will be secui;; from your attempts. Tims during your ab- 
sence have 1 been informed by my spies, who arc ever em- 
ployed in bringing me intelligence for your service. Now 
then listen to me. There is a juice extracted from certain 
lioi'bs known but to few, wiiicli brings on the person who 
dn'nks it the exact image of death. Let this be administered 
to Antonia ; you may easilj' find means to pour a few drops 
into her medicine. The effect will be throwing her into strong 
convulsions for an jionr ; after wliieli her blood will gradually 
cease to flow and henrt to beat ; a mortal paleness will spread 
itself over her features, and she will appear a corpse to 
every eye. She has no friends about her ; you may cliiirge 
yourself unsuspected with the superintendence of lier funeral, 
and cause her to be buried in the vaults of St. C'hire. Tiieir 
solitude and easy access render these caverns favorable to 
your designs. Give Antonia the soporific draught this even- 



THE FEMALE MONK 293 

ing ; eight-and-forty houis after she has drank it, life will 
revive in her bosom. She will then be absolutely in your 
power; she will find all resistance unaviiiling, and necessity 
will compel her to receive you in her arms." 

" Antonia will be in my power ! " exclaimed the monk ; 
"Matilda, you trans[iort me 1 A-t len.gth then happiness 
will be mine, and that happiness will be Matilda's gift, wiU 
be the gift of friendship ! I shall clasp Antonia in my arms, 
far from everj' prying eye, from every tormenting intruder ! 
I shall sigh out my soul upon hei' bosom ; shall teach her 
young heart the first rudiments of pleasure, and revel uncon- 
trolled in the endless variety of her charms ! And shall this 
delight indeed be mine? Shall I give the reins to mj' desires, 
and gratify every wild tumultuons wish ? Oh ! Matilda, how 
can I express to you my gratitude." 

"By profiting by my counsels. Ambrosio, I live but to 
serve you ; your interest and happiness are equally mine. 
Should my exertions procure the gratification of your wishes, 
I shall consider my trouble to be amply repaid. But let us 
lose no time. The liquor of which I spoke is only to be 
found in St. Clare's laboratory. Hasten then to the prioress, 
request of her admission to the laboratory, and it will not 
be denied. There is a closet at the lower end of the gi'eat 
room, filled with liquids of different colors and qualities ; the 
bottle in question stands by itself, upon the third shelf on 
the left. It contains a greenish liquor ; fill a small phial 
with it when you are unobserved, and Antonia is your own." 

The monk hesitated not to adopt this infamous plan. His 
desires, but too violent before, had acquired fresh vigor from 
the sight of Antonia. Scarcely could he master himself 
sufficiently to conceal his desires from Antonia and hei 
vigilant duenna. Inflamed by the i-emembrance of her 
beauty, he entered into Matilda's scheme without hesita- 
tion. 

No sooner were matins over than he bent his course to- 



294 EOSAHIO, OB; 

wards the convent of St. Clare : his arrival threw the whole 
sisterhood into the utmost amazement. The prioress was 
sensible of the honor done her convent by his paying it his 
first visit, and strove to express her gratitude by every pos- , 
sible attention. He was paraded through the garden, shown 
all the relics of saints and martyrs, and treated with as 
much respect and distinction as had he been the Pope him- 
self. On his part, Ambrosio received the domina's civilities 
very graciously, and strove to remove her surprise at his 
having broken through his resolution. He stated that among 
his penitents illness prevented many from quitting their 
houses. These were exaatly the people who most needed 
his advice and the comforts of religion. Many representa- 
tions had been made to him npon 4his account, and, though 
liighly repugnant to his own wishes, he had found it abso- 
lutely necessary, for the service of Heaven, to change his 
determination, and quit his beloved retirement. The prioress 
applauded his zeal in his profession, and his charity to- 
wards mankind. She declared that Madrid was~ happy in 
possessing a man so perfect and irreproachable. In such 
discourse the friar at length reached the laboratory : he 
found the closet ; the bottle stood in the place which Ma- 
tilda had described, and the monk seized an opportunity to 
fill his phial unobserved with the soporific liquor;^ Then, 
having partaken of a collation in the refectory, he retired 
from the convent, pleased with the success of his visit, and 
leaving the nuns delighted by the honor conferred upon 
them. 

He waited till evening before he took the road to An- 
tonia's dwelling. Jacintha welcomed him with transport, 
and besought him not to forget his promises to pass the night 
in the haunted chamber. That promise he now repeated. 
He found Antonia tolerably well, but still harping upon the 
ghost's prediction. Flora moved not from her lady's bed, 
and, by symptoms yet stronger than on the former night, 



THE FEMALE MONK 295 

tv,5tifie(l her dislike to tlie abbot's presence. Still Ambrosio 
aifected not to observe them. The physician arrived while 
he was conversing with Antonia. It was dark already ; 
lights were called for, and Flora was compelled to descend 
for them herself. However, as she left a third person in the 
room, and expected to be absent but a few minutes, she be- 
lieved that she risked nothing in quitting her post. No 
sooner had she left the room, than Ambrosio moved towards 
the table on which stood Autonia's medicine. It was placed 
in a recess of the window. The physician, seated in an arm- 
chair, and employed in questioning his patient, paid no at- 
tention to the proceedings of the monk. Ambrosio seized 
the opportunity ; he drew out the fatal phial, and let a few 
drops fall into the medicine :" he then liiistily left the table, 
and returned to the seat which he had quitted. When Flora 
made her appearance with lights, everything seemed to be 
exactly as she had left it. 

The physician declared that Antonia migiit quit her chamber 
the next day with perfect safety. He recommended her fol- 
lowing the same prescription which on the night before had 
procured her a refreshing sleep. Flora replied that the 
draught stood ready upon the table : he advised the patient 
to take it without delay, and then retired. Flora poured the 
medicine into a cup, and presented it to her mistress. At 
that moment Ambrosio's courage failed him. Might not 
Matilda have deceived him. Might not jealousy have per- 
suaded her to destroy her rival, and substitute poison in the 
room of an opiate? This idea appeared so reasonable, that 
he was on the point of preventing her from swallowing the 
medicine. His resolution was adopted too late. The cup 
was already emptied, and Antonia restored it into Flora's 
hands. No remedy was now to be found ; Ambrosio could 
only expect the moment impatiently destined to decide upon 
Antonia's life or deatli, upon his own happiness or despair. 

Dreading to create suspicion by his stay, or betray him- 



296 EOSARio ; or, 

self by his mind's agitation, be took leaA-e of bis victim, and 
witlidrew from tbe room. Antouia parted from bim with 
less cordiality than on the former night. Flora had repre- 
sented to her mistress, that to admit his visits wore to dis- 
obey her mother's orders. She described to her liis emotion 
on entering the room, and tbe fire which sparkled in his eyes 
while he gazed upon her. This had escaped Aiitonin's ob- 
servation, but not her attendant's, who, explaining the 
monk's designs, and their probable consequences, in terms 
much clearer than Elvira's, though not quite so delicate, had 
succeeded in alarming her young lady, and persuading her - 
to treat him more distantly than she had done hitherto. The 
idea of obeying her mother's will at once determined Antonia. 
Though she grieved at losing his society, she conquered her- 
self sufficiently to receive the monk witii some degree of 
reserve and coldness. She thanked him with respect and 
gratitude for his former visits, but did not invite his repeat- 
ing them in future. It now was not the friar's interest to 
solicit admission to her presence, and he took leave of her 
as if not designing to return. Fully persuaded that the 
acquaintance which she dreaded was now at an end. Flora 
was so much worked wpon by his easy compliance, that slie 
began to doubt the justice of her suspicions. As she lighted 
him downstairs, she thanked him for luiving endeavored to 
root out from Antonia's mind her superstitious terrors of the 
spectre's prediction : she added, that as he seemed interested 
in Donna Antonia's welfare, should any change take place 
in her situation, she would be careful to let him know it. 
The monk, in replying, took pains to raise Ins voice, hoping 
that Jacintha would hear it. In this he succeeded. As he 
reached the foot of the stairs with his conductress, the land- 
lady failed not to make her appearance. 

"Why, surely yen are not uoing away, reverend father?" 
cried she: "Did you not promise to pass the night in the 
haunted chamber? Christ Jesus ! I shall be left alone with 



THE FEMALE MONK 297 

the ghost, and a fine pickle I shall be in by morning ! Do 
all I could, say all I could, that obstinate old brute, Simon 
Gonzalez, refused to marry me to-day ; and before to-mor- 
row comes, I suppose I shall be torn to pieces by the ghosts 
and goblins, and devils, and what not ! For God's sake, 
your holiness, do not leave me in such a woful condition ! 
Oa my bended knees I beseech you to keep your promise : 
watch this night in the haunted cliamber ; lay the npparition 
in the Red Sea, and Jacintha remembers you in her prayers 
to the last day of her existence." 

This request Am brosio expected and desired ; yet he affected 
to raise objections, and to seem unwilling to keep his word. 
He told Jacintha that the ghost existed nowhere but in her 
own brain, and that her insisting his staying all night in the 
house was ridiculous and useless. Jacintha was obstinate ; 
she was not to be convinced, and pressed him so urgently not 
to leave her a prey to the devil, that at length he granted licr 
request. All this show of resistance imposed not upon Flora, 
who was naturally of a suspicious temper. She suspected 
the monk to be acting a part very contrary to his own in- 
clinations, and that he wished for no better than to remain 
where he was. She even went so far as to believe that Ja- 
cintha was in his interest ; and the poor old woman was im- 
mediately set down as no better than a procuress. While 
she applauded herself for having penetrated into this plot 
against her lady's honor, she resolved in secret to render it 
fruitless. 

" So then," said she to the abbot, with a look half satirical 
and half indignant, " so then you mean to stay here to-night? 
Do so, in God's name ! Nobody will prevent you. Sit up to 
watch for the ghost's arrival : I shall sit up too, and the Lord 
grant that I may see nothing worse than a ghost ! I quit not 
Donna Antonia's bedside during this blessed night. Let me 
see anyone dare to enter the room, and be he mortal or im- 



298 ROSABio ; ok, 

mortal, be he ghost, devil, or man, I warrant his repenting 
that ever he crossed tlie threshold ! " 

This hint was sufficiently strong, and Ambrosio imdef'stood 
its meaning. But instead of showing that he perceived her 
suspicions, he replied mildly that he approved the duenna's 
precautions, and advised her to persevere in her intention. 
This she assured him faithfully that he might depend ujipn 
her doing. Jacintha then conducted him into the chamber 
where the ghost had appeared, and Flora returned to her 
lady's. 

Jacintha opened the door of the haunted room with a 
trembling hand ; she ventured to peep in, but the wealth of 
India would not have tempted her to cross the threshold. 
She gave the taper to the monk, wished him well through the 
adventure, and hastened to be gone. Ambrosio entered. 
He bolted the door, placed the light upon the table, and 
seated himself in. the chair which on the former night had 
sustained Antonia. In spite of Matilda's assurances the 
spectre was a mere creation of fancy, his mind was impressed 
with a certain mysterious horror. He in vain endeavored to 
shake it off. The silence of the night, the story of the 
apparition, the chamber waiuscotted with dark oak panels, 
the recollection which it brought with it of the nuirdered JEl- 
vira, and his incertitude respecting the nature of the drops 
given by him to Antonia, made him feel uneasy at his present 
situation. But he thought much loss of the spectre than of 
the poison. Should he have destroyed the only object which 
made life dear to him ; should the ghost's prediction prove 
true ; should Antonia in the three days be no more, and he 
the wretched cause of her death. . . . The supposition was 
too horrible to dwell upon. He drove away these dreadful 
images, and as often they presented themsi-lvos again before 
him. Matilda had assured him that the effects of the opiate 
would be speedy. He listened with fear, yet with eagerness, 
expecting to hear some disturbance in the adjoining chamber. 



THE FEMALE MONK 299 

All was still silent. He concluded that the drops had not 
begun to operate. Great was the stake for which he now 
played : a moment would suffice to decide upon his misery or 
happiness. Matilda had taught him tlie means of ascertaining 
that life was not extinct for ever : upon this essay depended 
all his hopes. With every instant his impatience redoubled ; 
his terrors grew more lively, his anxiety more awake. Unable 
to bear this state of incertitude, he endeavored to divert it by 
substituting the thoughts of others to his own. The books, 
as was before mentioned, were ranged upon shelves near the 
table : this stood exactly opposite to the bed, which was placed 
in an alcove near the closet door. Ambrosio took down a 
volume, and seated himself by the table : but his attention 
wandered from the pages before him. Antonia's image, and 
that of the murdered Elvira, stood before his imagination. 
Still he continued to read, though his eyes ran over the charac- 
ters without his mind being conscious of their import. 

Such was the occupation when he fancied that he heard a 
footstep. He turned his head, but nobody was to be seen. 
He resumed his book : but in a few minutes after the same 
sound was repeated, and followed by a rustling noise close 
behind him. He now started from his seat, and looking 
round him, perceived the closet door standing half unclosed. 
On his first entering the room, he had tried to open it, but 
found it bolted on the inside. 

" How is this ? " said he to himself ; " how comes this door 
unfastened? " 

He advanced towards it, he pushed it open, and looked 
into the closet : no one was tliere. While he stood irresolute, 
he thought that he distinguished a groaning in the adjacent 
chamber : it was Antonia's, and he supposed' that the drops 
began to take effect. But, upon listening more attentively, 
he found the noise to be caused by Jacintha, who had fallen 
asleep by the lady's bedside, and was snoring most lustily. 
Ambrosio drew back and returned to the other room, musing 



300 ROSARio ; OR, 

upon the sudden opening of the closet door, for which he 
strove in vain to account. 

He paced the chamber up and down in silence. At length 
he stopped, and the bed attracted his attention. Tlio curtain 
of the recoss was but lialf-drawn. He sighed involuntarily. 

"That bed," said he in a low voice, "that bed was El- 
vira's ! Thore has she (tassed many a quiet night, for she 
was good and innocent. How sound must liave been lior 
sleep ! and yet now she sleeps sounder ! Does she indeed 
sleep? Oh! God grant that she may ! Wliat if she rose 
from lior grave at this sad and silent hour? What if she 
brok,e the bonds of tiic tomb, and glided angrily before my 
blasted oyes? Oh ! I never could support the sight ! Again 
to see her form distorted by dying agonies, her blood-swollen 
veins, her livid countenance, her eyes bursting from their 
sockets with pain ! — to hear her speak of future punishment, 
niennce me with Heaven's vengeance, tax me with the crimes 
I liave committed, with those I am going to commit .... 
Great God ! wliat is that?" 

As he uttered these words, his eyes, which were fixed upon 
the bed, saw the curtain shaken gently backwards ;nid for- 
wards. The apparition was recalled to his mind, and he 
almost fancied that he belield Elvira's visionary form reclining 
upon the bed. A few moment's consideration sufficed to re- 
assure him. 

" It was only the wind," said he, recovering himself. 

Again he paced the eliamber ; but an involuntary move- 
ment of awe and inquietude constantly led his eyes towards 
the alcove. He drew near it witli irresolution. He paused 
I>efore he ascended the few steps which led to it. He put 
out liis hand thrice to remove the curtain, and as often drew 
it back. 

" Absurd terrors ! " he cried at length, ashamed of his own 
wealcnes^. 

Hastily he mounted the steps, when a figure dressed in 



THE FEMALE MONK 301 

white started from the alcove, and glided by him, made willi 
[)re(;i|)itatioii towards the closet. Madness and despair now 
Hupplieil the monk with that courage, of which he had till 
tJien been destitute. He flew down tiie steps, pursued tlie 
apparition, and attemptetl to <^r;is]) it. 

" (Jhosi,, or devil, 1 hold you ! " he exclaimed, and seized 
the Hiiectrc by the arm. 

" Oh ! C'hii.st .Jesus ! " cried a slirill voice ; " holy father, 
how you gripe me ! I protest that I meiint no harm ! " 

This addii'ss, as well ;is th<; arm which he held, convinced 
the :ibl)ot that tiie sup|)os(^d ghost was substantial flesh and 
blood. lie drew the intruder towards the table, and holding 
up the light, discovered the features of ... . Madona 
Flora ! 

Incensed at having been betrayed by this trifling cause into 
fears so ridiculous, he asked her sternly what business had 
brought hei' to that charuljer. Flora, ashamed at being found 
out, and terrified at the severity of Ambrosio's looks, fell upon 
her knees, and promised to make a full confession. 

"I protest, reverend father," said she, "that I am quite 
grieved at having disturbed you ; nothing was further from 
iiiy intention. I meant to get out of the room as quietly as 
1 got in ; and had you been ignorant that I watched you, you 
know it would have been the same thing as if 1 had not 
watched you at all. To be sure 1 did very wrong in being 
a spy upon you — that I cannot deny. But, Lord ! your rev- 
erence, how can a poor weak woman resist curiosity? Mine 
was so strong to know what you were doing, tiiat I could not 
but try to get a little p(!ep without anybody knowing any- 
thing about it. So with that I left old Uame .Jacintlia sitting 
by the lady's bed, and I ventured to steal into the closet. 
Being unwilling to interrupt you, I contented myself at first 
with putting 7ny eye to the keyhole ; but as I could see 
nothing by this means, I undrew the bolt, and while your 
back was turned to the alcove, I whipt me in softly and 



so 2 ROSARIO ; OR, 

silently. Heve I lay snug behind the curtain, till your rev- 
erence found me out and seized me ere I had time to regain 
the closet door. This is the whole truth, I assure you, holy 
father, and I beg your pardon a thousand times for my im- 
pertinence.'' 

During this speech tlie abbot had time to recollect himself : 
he was satisfied with reading the penitent spy a lecture upon 
the dangers of curiosity, and the meanness of the action in 
which she had been just discovered. Flora declaTed herself 
fully persuaded that she had done wrong; she promised 
never to be guilty of the same fault again, and was retiring 
very humble and contrite to Antoiiia's chamber, when tlie 
closet door was suddenly thrown open, and in rusL.ed 
Jacintha, pale and out of breath. 

" Oh ! father ! father ! " she cried in a voice almost choked 
with terror, " what shall I do ! wliat sliall I do ! Here is 
a fine piece of work ! Notliing but misfortunes ! Nothing 
but dead people, and dying people ! Oh ! 1 sliall go dis- 
tracted ! I shall go distracted ! " 

' ' Speak ! speak ! " cried Flora and the monk at the same 
time ; " what has happened? what is the matter?" 

"Oh! I shall have another corpse in my house ! Some 
witch has certainly cast a spell upon it, upon me, and upon 
all about me ! Poor Donna Antonia ! there she lies in just 
such convulsions as killed her mother ! The ghost told her 
true ! I am sure the ghost told her true ! " 

Flora ran, or rather flew to her lady's chamber. Am- 
brosio followed her, his bosom trembling with hope and ap- 
prehension. They found Antonia as Jacintha had described, 
torn by racking convulsions, from which they in vain en- 
deavored to relieve her. The monk despatched Jacintha to 
the abbey in all haste, and commissioned her to bring Father 
Pablos back with her without losing a moment. 

" I will go for him," replied Jacintha, " and tell him to 
come hither ; but as to bringing him myself, I shall do no 



'i-HE FEMALE MONK 309 

snch thing. I am sure that the house is bewitched, and bum 
me if ever 1 set foot in it again." 

With this resolution she set out for the monastery, and 
delivered to Father Pablos the abbot's orders. She then be- 
took herself to the house of Old Simon Gonzalez, whom she 
resolved never to quit till she had made him her husband, 
and his dwelling her own. 

Father Pablos had no sooner beheld Antonia than he pro- 
nounced her incurable. Tiie convulsions continued for an 
hour; during that time her agonies were much milder than 
those which her groans created in the abbot's heart. Hey 
every pang seemed a dagger in his bosom, and he cursed 
himself a thousand times for having adopted so barbarous a 
project. The hour being expired, by degrees the fits became 
less frequent, and Antonia less agitated. She felt that her 
dissolution was approaching, and that nothing could save 
her. " Worthy Ambrosio," she said in a feeble voice, while 
she pressed his hand to her lips; "I am now at liberty to 
ex}3ress how grateful is my heart for j'our attention and 
kindness. I am upon the bed of death ; yet an hour, and I 
shalihe no more. I may therefore acknowledge without re- 
straint that to relinquish your society was very painful to 
me : but such was the will of a parent, and I dared not dis- 
obej'. I die witliout repugnance : there are ffew who will 
lamtot me leaving them^— there are few whom I lament to 
leave. Among those few, I lament for none more than for 
yourself ; but we shall meet again, Ambrosio, we shall one 
day meet in heaven : there shall our friendship be renewed, 
and my mother shall view it with pleasure." 

She paused. The abbot shuddered when she mentioned 
Elvira. Antonia imputed his emotion to pity and concern 
for her. 

" You aregi-ieved for me, father," she continued. " Ah ! 
sigh not for my loss. I have no crimes to repent, at least 
none of wkich I am conscious ; and I restore my soul with- 



304 ROSARIO ; OR, 

out fear to him from whom I received it. I have but few 
requests to make ; yet let me hope that what few I have 
shall be graated. Let a solemn mass be said for my soul's 
repose, and another for that of my beloved mother ; not that 
I doubt her resting in her grave. I am now convinced that 
• my reason wandered, and the falsehood of the ghost'-s pre- 
diction is snflic-ient to prove my error. But everyone has 
some failiiii> : my mother may have had hers, though I knew 
them not. 1 therefore wish a mass to be celebrated for her 
repose, and the expense may be defrayed by the little wealth 
of which I am possessed. Whatever may then remain, I 
bequeath to my aunt Leonella. When 1 -am dead, let the 
Marquis de las Cisternas know that his brother's unhappy 
family can no longer importune him. But disappointment 
makes me unjust. They tell me that he is ill, and perhaps, 
had it Jjeen in his power, he wished to have protected me. 
Tell him, then, father, only tliat I am dead, and that if he 
had any faults to me, I forgive him from mj' heart. This 
done, I have nothing more to ask for than your prayers. 
Promise to remember my requests, and I shall resign my life 
without a pang of sorrow." 

Ambrosio engaged to comply with her desires, and pro- 
ceeded to give lier absolution. Elvery moment announced 
the approach of Antonia's fate. Her sight failed, her heart 
beat sluggishly, iier fingers stiffened and grew cold, and at 
two in tlie morning she expired without a groan. As soon 
as the breath had forsaken her body. Father Pablos retired, 
sincerely affected at the melancholy scene. On her part. 
Flora gave way to the most unbridled sorrow. Far different 
concerns employed Ambrosio, he sought for the pulse whose 
throbbing, so Matilda had assured him, would prove An- 
tonia's deatli but temporal. He found it — pressed it — it 
palpitated beneath his hand, and his heart was filled with 
ecstasy. However, he carefully concealed his satisfaction 
at the success of his plan. He assumed a melancholy air, 



THE FEMALE MONK 305 

and, addressing himself to Flora, wMriied her against aban- 
doning herself to fruitless sori'ow. Her tears were too sin- 
cere to permit her listening to his counsels, and she continued 
to weep unceasingly. The friar witiidrew, first promising to 
give orders himself about the funeral, which, out of consid- 
eration for Jaciutha as he pretended, should take place with 
all expedition. Plunged in grief for the loss of her beloved 
mistress, Flora scarcely attended to what he said. Ani- 
brosio hastened to command the burial. He obtained per- 
mission from the prioress, that the corpse should be deposited 
in St. Clare's sepulchre, and on the Friday mosning, every 
proper and needful ceremony being performed, Antonia's 
body was connnitted to the tomb. On the same day Leon- 
ella arrived at Madrid, intending to present her young hus- 
band to Elvira. Vai'ious circumstances had obliged her to 
.defer her journey from Tuesday to Friday ; and she had no 
opportunity of making this alteration in her plans knoivn to 
her sister. As her heart was truly affectionate, and as she 
had ever entertained a sincere regard for Elvira and her 
daughter, her surprise at hearing of their sudden and melan- 
choly fate was fully equalled by her sorrow and disaijpoint- 
ment. Ambrosio sent to inform her of Antonia's bequest : 
at her solicitation, he promised, as soon as Elvira's trifling 
debts were discharged, to transmit to her the remainder. 
This being settled, no other business detained Leonella in 
Madrid, and she returned to Cordova with all diligence. 




ROSARIO 20 




His whole attention bent upon bringing to justice the as- 
sassins of his sister, Lorenzo little thought how severely his 
interest, was suffering in another quarter. As was before 
mentioned, he returned not to Madrid till the evening of that 
day on which Antonia was buried. Signifying to the Grand 
Inquisitor the order of the Cardinal-Dulie (a ceremony not 
to be neglected wlien a member of tlie Church was to be ar- 
rested publicly), communicating his design to his uncle and 
Don Ramirez, and assembling a troop of attendants sufficient 
to prevent opposition, furnished him with full occupation 
during the few hours preceding midnight. Consequently he 
had no opportunity to inquire about his mistress, and was 
perfectly ignorant both of her death and her mother's. 

The marquis was by no means out of danger; his delirium 
was gone, but liiul left him so much exhausted, that the 
physicians declined pronouncing upon the consequences 
likely to ensue. As for Raymond himself, he wislied for 
nothing more earnestly than to join Agnes in the grave. 
Existence was hateful to him : he saw nothing in the world 
deserving his attention ; and he hoped to hear that Agnes 
was revenged and himself given over in the sa'uie moment. 

Followed by Raymond's ardent prayers for success, Lo- 
renzo was at the gates of St. Clare a full hour before the 



THE FEMALE MONK 307 

time appointed by the Mother St. Uisiihi. He was accom- 
panied by his uncle, by Don Eaniirez de Mello, and a party 
of chosen archers. Though in considerable numbers, their 
appearance created no surprise : a great crowd was already 
assembled before the convent doors, in order to witness the 
procession. It was naturally supposed that Lorenzo and his 
attendants were conducted thither by the same design. The 
Duke of Medina being recognized, the people drew back, 
and liiade way for his party to advance. Lorenzo placed 
himself opposite to the great gate, through which the pil- 
grims were to pass. Convinced that the prioress could not 
escape him, he waited patiently for hor appearance, which 
she was expected to make exactly at midnight. 

The nuns were employed in religious duties established in 
honor of St. Clare, and to which no profane was ever ad- 
mitted. The chapel windows were illuminated. As they 
stood on the outside, the auditors heard the full swell of the 
organ, accompanied by a chorus of female voices, rise upon 
the stillness of the night. This died away, and was suc- 
ceeded by a single strain of harmony : it was the voice of 
her who was destined to sustain in the procession the char- 
acter of St. Clare. For this office the most beautiful virgin 
of Madrid was always selected, and she upon whom the 
choice fell, esteemed it as the highest of honors. While 
listening to the music, whose melody distance only seemed 
to render sweeter, the audience was wrapped up in profoimd 
attention. Universal silence prevailed through the crowd, 
and every heart was filled with reverence for religion — every 
heart but Lorenzo's. Conscious that among those who 
chanted the praises of their God so sweetly there were some 
wlio cloaked witli devotion the foulest sins, their hymns in- 
spired him with detestation at their hypocrisy. He had long 
observed with disapprobation and contempt the superstition 
which governed Madrid's inhabitants. His good sense had 
pointed out to him the artifices of the monks, and the gross 



308 EOSARIO ; OR, 

absiivditj' of their miracles, ■wonders, and suppositious relics. 
He blushed to see his countrymen the dupes of deception so 
ridiculous, and only wished for an opportunity to free them 
from their monkish fetters. Tliat opportunity, so long de- 
sired in vain, was at length presented to him. He resolved 
not to let it slip, but to set before the people, in glaring 
colors, how enormous were the abuses but too frequently 
practiced in monasteries, and how unjustly public esteem 
was bestowed indiscriminately upon all who wore a religious 
habit. He longed for the moment destined to unmask the 
hypocrites, and convince his countrymen tliat a sanctified 
exterior does not always hide a virtuous heart. 

The service lasted till midnight was announced by the 
convent bell. The sound being heard, the nnisic ceased, the 
voices died away softly, and soon after the lights disap- 
peared from the chapel windows. Lorenzo's iieart beat 
high wlien he found the execution of his plan to be at liand. 
From the natural superstition of the people,, he had pre- 
pared himself for some resistance ; but he trusted that the 
Mother St. Ursula would bring good reasons to justify his 
proceeding. He had force with him to repel the first im- 
pulse of the populace, till his arguments should be heard. 
His only fear was lest the domina, suspecting his design, 
should have spirited away the nun on whose deposition every- 
thing depended. Unless the Mother St. Ursula should be 
present, he could only accuse the prioress upon suspicion ; 
and this reflection gave him some little apprehension for the 
success of his enterprise. The tranquillity which seemed to 
reign through the convent in some degree reassured him : 
still he expected the moment eagerly when the presence of 
his ally should deprive him of the power of doubting. 

Tiie abbey of Capuchins was only separated from the con- 
vent by the garden and cemetery. The monks liad been in- 
vited to assist at the pilgrimage. They now iirrived, march- 
ing two by two, with lighted torches in their hands, and 



THE FEMALE MONK 309 

chanting hymns in honor of St. Clare. Father Pablos was 
at their head, the abbot having excused liiinself from attend- 
ing. The people made way for the lioly tiain, and the friars 
placed themselves in ranks on cither side of tiie great gates. 
A few minutes sufficed to arrange tl)e order of the proces- 
sion. Tliis being settled, tlie convent doors were tinovvn 
(i|)en, and again the female chorus sounded in full melody. 
First appeared a band of chofistcrs. As soon as they had 
passed, the monks fell in two by two, and followed with 
steps slow and measured ; next ciune the novices : they bore 
no tapers, as did the professed, but moved on with eyes bent 
downwards, and seemed to be occupied by telling their beads. 
To them succeedeil a young and lovely girl, who represented 
St. Lucia: she held a golden bason, in which were two eyes 
— her own were covered by a velvet bandage — and she wiis 
conducted by another nun habited as an angel. She was 
followed by St. Catherine, a palm branch in one hand, a 
flaming sword in the other: she was robed in Aviiite, and her 
brow was ornameated with a sparkling diadem. Alter her 
appeared St. Genevieve, surrouiuled by a number of imps, 
who, putting themselves into gi'otesqne attitudes, drawing 
her by the robe, and sporting round her w ilh antic gestures, 
endeavored to distract her attention from the book, on which 
her eyes were constantly fixed. These merry devils greatly 
entertained the spectators, who testilled their pleasure by re- 
peated bursts of laughter. The prioress had been careful to 
select a nun whose disposition was naturally solenm and 
saturnine. She had every reason to be satisfied with her 
choice : the drolleries of the imps weie entirely thrown away, 
and St. Genevieve moved on without discomposing a muscle. 
Each of these saints was separated from the other by a 
band of choristers, exalting her praise in their hynms, but 
declaring her to be very nuieh inferior to St. Clare, the con- 
Aeut's avowed patroness. These having passed, a long train 
of nuns appeared, bearing like the choristers each a burning 



310 . KOS.VKIO, OK : 

taper. Next emno tlio ivlirs of St. C'laiv, enclosed in vases 
eqiuUly piXH'ious for their materials aiul workmanship; but 
they attraeted not. Lorenzo's attention. The nun wlio l>on> 
the lieart ooeupied him ciitiivly. AeiHsnling to 'riuHxloiv's 
deseription, he doul'ted not her being the Motlier St. I'l-suln. 
She seemed to look nnind with anxiety. As lie stoi^l foiv- 
niost in the rank by which the procession passed, her eye 
oanglit Li>ivnzo"s. A Ihisli of joy overspread her till then 
pallid check. She turned to her companion eagerly. 

•> We are safe," he heard her whisper; •• "lis her In-other." 

His heart being now at ease, Loivnzo gazed with trau- 
qnilliiy upon tlie ivmaiuder of the show. ^\>w appeared its 
most, brilliant ornament : it was a machine fashioned like a 
throne, rich with jewels, and dazzling with light. It rolled 
onwiu\ls upon concealed wheels, and was guided by sevei-al 
lovely childreu divssed as seraphs. The summit was covered 
with silver clouds, upon which i-ecliued the most beautiful 
form that eyes ever witnessed. It was a damsel represent- 
ing St. Clare : her dress was of inestimable price, and round 
her head a wi-cath of diamonds formed an artificial glory; 
but all these ornaments yielded to the lusti-eof her charms. 

As she advanced, a murmur of delight iiui through tlie 
crowd. Even Loivuzo confessed secivtly that he never be- 
held more perfect beauty ; and had not his heart been An- 
tonia's, it must have fallen a sacrifice to this enchanting girl 
As it was, he considered her only as a fine statue : she ob 
tained from him no tiibute sa-^'e cold admiration ; and when 
she had passed him, he thought of her no more. 

" Who is she?" asked a byst;uidev in Lorenzo's hearing. 

" One whose beauty you must often have heaixi celebrated. 
Her name is Virgin de Villa-Fninca ; she is a pensioner 
of St. Clare's convent, a relation of the prioivss, and has 
been selected with justice as the ornament of the procession." 

The throne moved onwards. It was followed by the 
prioress hei-self : she niai-ched at the head of the remaining 



THE FEMALE XOXK 311 

nans wiUi a deroot and MiDctified air, ami cl" -■ '( tlic proces- 
eicHi. She moved on slowly : bd-r eye-, irere raiscil to heaven ; 
her coontenanee, calm and tranquil, seeTuwl alistracted from 
all sabloiiary tilings, and no feature l«?trayfr<i her ^< <r' t pride 
at dbplayiug tii<r pomp and opulence of her coinvnt. SLe 
pa^senl alon^. accon<i>anied by the prayers and Ix-nedietions 
of the pc^nlace : but how grciit was the general f-v]j'i;-ivii and 
sorprise when Don Ramirez, starting forward, challenged 
her as his prisoner J 

For a moment amazement held the domina silent and im- 
moveable : but no sooner did ^Le recover her-MrIf than she 
exclaimed again.st sacrilege and imjjiety, and called uinm the 
[ic/plc to rescue a dangbter of Ibe Church. They were 
eagerly preparing to obey her, when Don Bainirez. protected 
by the archei« from their rage, commanded them to for1x-ar, 
and threatened them with tlie M-verest veugeyii'-i.- of the In- 
qaisitum. At that dreaded word every arm fell, evi-iy sword 
shrunk back into its scab1>ard. The prioress Ij»-i--lf turned 
pale, and trembled. The general silence convinced lier that 
ihe had nothing to hope but from innorreiice. and sJj*; Ije- 
son^iit Don Kamirez. in a faltering voice, to inform her of 
wliat mme she was accused. 

" Tliflt you shall know in tini'-.'' replied he ; •• but first I 
must secure the !Mother St. Ursula." 

"The Mother St. Ursula?" reijcated the doniiiia faintly. 

At this moment, casting her eyes rouu'l. slie smw Lorenzo 
and the duke, who had followed Don Kamirez. 

"Ah! great God!" -be cried, clawing her luind^ to- 
getiier with a frantic air, •■ I am befaayed." 

"Betiayed?" replied St. Ursula, who now arrived, con- 
ducted by some of the arciiere, and followed by the nuu her 
companion in the procession : •• not betrayetl, but discovered. 
In me tccc^ize j-oar acciis<;r. You know not how well 
I am instmcted in your guilt. Sefior." slie continued, lam- 
ino' to Don Bamirez, " I commit myself to your custody. I 



312 ROSAKIO ; OR, 

charge the prioress of St. Clare with murder, and stake my 
life for the justice of my accusation." 

A general cry of surprise was uttered by the whole au- 
dience, and an explanation was loudly demanded. The 
trembling nuns, terrified at the noise and universal con- 
fusion, had dispersed, and fled different ways. Some re- 
gained the convent, others sought refuge in the dwellings of 
their relations ; and many, only sensible of their present 
danger, and anxious to escape from the tumult, ran through 
the streets, and wandered they knew not whither. The 
lovely Virginia was one of the first to fly. And in order 
that she might be better seen and heard, the people desired 
that St. Ursula should harangue them from the vacant 
throne. The nun complied. She ascended the glittering, 
machine, and then addressed the surrounding multitude as 
follows : — 

" However strange and unseemly may appear iiij' conduct, 
when considered to be adopted by a female and a nuu, neces- 
sity will justify it most fully. A secret — a horrible secret — 
weighs heavy upon my soul : no rest can be mine till I have 
revealed it to the world, and satisfied that innocent blood 
which calls from the grave for vengeance. Much have^I 
dared, to gain this opportunity of lightening my conscience. 
Had I failed in my attempt to reveal the crime, had the 
domina been suspected that the mystery was none to me, 
my ruin was inevitable. Angels, who watch unceasingly 
over those who deserve their favor, have enabled me to 
escape detection. I am now at liberty to relate a tale, 
wliose circumstances will freeze every honest soul with 
horror. Mine is the task to rend the veil from hypocrisy, 
and show misguided parents to what danger the woman is 
exposed who falls under the sway of a monastic tyrant. 

" Among the votaries of St. Clare, none was more lovely, 
none more gentle, than Agnes de Medina. I knew her well ; 
she entrusted to me every secret of her heart. I was her 



THE FEMALE MONK 313 

friend and confidant, and I loved hot with sincere affection. 
Nor was I singular in my attaclinient. Her piety unfeigned, 
her willingness to oblige, and her angelic disposition, ren- 
dered jier the darling of all that was estimable in the con- 
vent. The prioress herself, proud, scrupulous and forbidding, 
could not refuse Agnes that tribute of approbation which she 
bestowed upon no one else. Everyone has some fault. Alas ! 
Agnes had her weakness ; she violated the laws of her order, 
and incurred the inveterate hate of the unforgiving domina. 
St. Clare's rules are severe ; but grown antiquated and 
neglected, many of late years have either been forgotten, or 
changed by universal consent into milder punishments. The 
penance adjudged to the crime of Agnes was most cruel, 
most inhuman. The law had been long exploded. Alas ! 
it still existed, and the revengeful prioress now determined 
to revive it. This law decreed that the offender should be 
plunged into a private dungeon, expressly constituted to 
hide from the world for ever the victim of cruelty and tyran- 
nic superstition. In this dreadful abode she was to lead a 
perpetual solitude, deprived of all society, and believed to 
be dead by those whom affection might have prompted to at- 
tempt her rescue. Thus was slie to languish out the re- 
mainder of her days, with no other food than bread and 
water, and uo other comfort than the free iiwlulgence of her 
tears." 

The indignation created by this account was so violent as 
for some moments to interrupt St. Ursula's narrative. "When 
the disturbance ceased, and silence again prevailed through 
the assembly, she continued her discourse, while at every 
word the domina's countenance betrayed her increasing 
terrors. 

"A council of the twelve elder nuns was called : I was of 
the number. The prioress, in exaggerated colors, described 
the offense of Agnes, and scrupled not to propose the re- 
vival of this most forgotten law. To the shame of our sex 



314 ROSARIO ; OR, 

be it spoken, that either so absolute was the doniina's will 
in the convent, or so much had disappointment, solitude and 
self-denial hardened their hearts and soured their tempers, 
that this barbarous proposal was assented to by nine voices 
out of the twelve. I was not one of the nine. Frequent 
opportunities had convinced me of the virtues of Agnes, and 
I loved and pitied her most sincerely. The mothers Bertha 
and Cornelia joined my party. "We made the strongest op- 
position possible, and the superior found herself compelled 
to change her intention. In spite of the majority in her 
favor, she feared to break with us openly. She knew that, 
supported by the Medina family, oiir forces would be too 
strong for her to cope with ; and she also knew that after 
being once imprisoned, and supposed dead, should Agnes be 
discovered, her ruin would be inevitable. She therefore 
gave up her design, though with much reluctance. She de- 
manded some days to reflect upon a mode of punishment 
which might be agreeable to the whole community ; and she 
promised that, as soon as her resolution was fixed, the same 
council should be again summoned. Two daj's passed away : 
on the evening of the third it was announced that on the 
next day Agnes should be examined ; and that, according 
to her behavior on that occasion, her punishment should be 
either strengthened or mitigated. 

" On the night preceding this examination, I stole to the 
cell of Agnes at an hour when I supposed the other nuns to 
be buried in sleep. I comforted her to the best of my 
power. I bade her take courage, told her to rely on the 
support of my friends, and taught her certain signs, by 
which I might instruct her to'answer the domina's questions 
by an assent or negative. Conscious that her enen\y would 
strive to confuse, embarrass and daunt her, I feared her 
being ensnared to some confession prejudical to her interests. 
Being anxious to keep my visit secret, I stayed with Agnes 
but a short time. I bade her not to let her spirits be cast 



tHE FEMALE MONK 315 

down. I mingled my tears with those which streamed down 
her cheek, eiiibiaeod her fondly, and was on the point of re- 
tiring, when I heard the sonnd of steps approach the cell. 
I started back. A cnrtain which veiled a large crucifix 
offered me a retreat, and I liat^tened to place myself behind 
it. The door opened. The prioress entered, followed by 
four other nuns. They advanceil towards the bed of Agnes. 
The superior reproached her with her errors in the bitterest 
terms. She told her that she was a disgrace to the convent, 
that she was resolved to deliver the world and herself from 
such a monster, and commanded her to drink the contents of 
the goblet now presented to her by one of the nuns. Aware 
of the fatal properties of the licpior, and trembling to find 
herself upon the brink of eternity, the uiiliaiipy girl strove 
to excite the domiua"s pity by the most affecting prayers. 
.She sued for life in terms which miglit have melted the 
heart of a fiend. Slie promised to submit patiently to any 
punishment, to shame, imprisonment and torture, might she 
but be permitted to live I Oh! might she but live uuother 
month, or week, or day ! Her merciless enemy listened to 
her complaints nnmoved. She told her that at first she 
meant to have spared her life, and that, if she had altered 
her intention, she had to thank the opposition of her friends. 
She continued to insist upon her swallowing the poison. She 
bade her reoommend herself to the Almighty's mercy, not to 
hers, and assured her that in an hour she would be num- 
bered with the dead. Perceiving that it was in vain to im- 
plore this unfeeling woman, slie attempted to spring from 
her bed, and call for assistance : she hoped, if she coidd not 
escape the fate announced to her, at least to have witnesses 
of the violence committed. The prioress guessed her design. 
She seized her forcibly by the arm, and pushed her back 
jipon her pillow, at the same time drawing a dagger, and 
placing it at the breast of the unfortunate Agnes, she pro- 
tested that if she uttered a single cry, or hesitated a single 



316 EdSAKTO ; OR, 

nionient to drink (lir iioiisoii, slio wouUl picrco hov lio!\rt that 
instant. Alreiuly half doail with fear, sho couUl niako no 
furthor resistance. Tlie nun approached with tlio fatal goblet ; 
the doniina obliged her to take it, and swallow the contents, 
yiie drank, and the horrid deed was accomplished. Tlie 
iHins then seated themselves round the bed ; they ausweied 
her groans with reproaclies ; they interrupted with sarcasms 
the prayera in which she recommended her parting soul to 
mercy ; they threatened her with Heaven's vengeance and 
eternal perdition ; they batle her despair of pardon, and 
strewed with yet sharper thorns death's painful pillow. Sueli 
were the sufferings of this young unfortunate, till released 
by fate from the maliee of her loniientors. iSlie expired in 
horror of the ptist, in fears for the future ; and her agonies 
were sueii as nmst have amply gratilied the hate and ven- 
geanee of her enemies. As soon as her vietim ceased to 
breathe, the douiina retired, and was f(.)llowed by her ac- 
complices. 

"It was now that I ventured from my coneealuient. I 
dared not to assist my unhappy friend, aware that, without 
preserving her, 1 should only havi' brought on myself the 
same destruction. Shocked and terrified beyond expression at 
this horrid scene, scarcely had I sullieient strength to regain 
my cell. As I reached the door of that of Agnes, I ventured 
to look towards the bed on which lay her lifeless body, once 
so lovely and so sweet ! I breathed a prayer for her de- 
parted spirit, and vowed to revenge her death by tlie shame 
and punishment of her assassins. "With danger and difli- 
cnlty I have kept my oath. 1 unwarily dropped some words 
at the funeral of Agnes, while thrown off my guard by ex- 
cessive grief, which alarmed the guilty conscience of the 
prioress. l\Iy every action was observed ; my every step 
was traced. I was constantly surrounded by the supei'ior's 
spies. It was long before I could find the means of convey- 
ing to the unhappy girl's relations an intimation of my secret. 



THE FEMALE MONK 317 

It was given out tliiit Agnes had expired suddenly : this ac- 
count was credited not only by her friends in Madrid, but 
even by those within the convent. The poison had left no 
marks upon her body : no one suspected the tnie cause of 
her death, and it remained unknown to all save the assas- 
sins and myself. 

" I have no more to say ; for what I have already said, I 
will answer with my life. I repeat that the prioress is a 
murderess ; that she has driven from the world, perhaps from 
heaven, an unfortunate, whose offense was light and venial ; 
that she has abused the power entrusted to her hands, and 
has been a tyrant, a barbarian, and a hypocrite. I also 
accuse the four nnns, Violaute, Camilla, Alix and Mariana, 
as being her accomplices, and equally criminal." 

Here St. Ursula ended her narrative. It created horror 
and surprise throughout ; but when she related the inhuman 
murder of Agnes, the indignation of the mob was so audibly 
testified, that it was scarcely possible to hear the conclusion. 
This confusion increased with every moment. At length a 
multitude of voices exclaimed that the prioress should be 
given up to their fury. To this Don Ramirez positively re- 
fused to consent. Even Lorenzo bade the people remember 
that she had undergone no trial, and advised them to leave 
her punishment to the Inquisition. All representations were 
fruitless ; the disturbance grew still more violent, and the 
populace more exasperated. In vain did Ramirez attempt 
to convey his prisoner out of the throng. Wherever he 
turned, a band of rioters barred his passage, and demanded 
lier being delivered over to them more loudly than before. 
Ramirez ordered his attendants to cut their way through tlie 
nmltitude. Oppressed by numbers, it was impossible for 
them to draw their swords. He threatened the mob with the 
vengeance of the Inquisition ; but, in this moment of popular 
frenzy, even this dreadful name had lost its effect. Though 
regret for his sister made him look upon the prioress with 



318 KOSABIO; OR, 

abhorrence, Lorenzo could not help pitying a woman in a 
situation so terrible ; but in spite of all his exertions and 
those of the duke, of Don Ramirez and the archers, the peo- 
ple continued to press onwards. They forced a passage 
through the guards who protected their destined victim, 
dragged her from her shelter, and proceeded to take upon 
her a most summary and cruel vengeance. Wild with terror, 
and scarcely knowing what she said, the wretched woihan 
shrieked for a moment's mercy ; she protested that she was 
innocent of the death of Agnes, and could clear herself from 
the suspicion beyond the power of doubt. The rioters 
heeded nothing but the gratification of their barbarous ven- 
geance. They refused to listen to her; they showed her 
every sort of insult, loaded her with mud and filth, and called 
her by the most opprobrious appellations. They tore her 
one from another, and each new tormentor was more savage 
than the former. They stifled with howls and execrations 
her shrill cries for mercy, and dragged her through the 
streets, spurning her, trampling her, and treating her with 
every species of cruelty which hate or vindictive fury could 
invent. At length a flint, aimed by some well-directed hand, 
struck her full upon the temple. She sank upon the ground 
bathed in blood, and in a few minutes terminated her mis- 
erable existence. Yet though she no longer felt their in- 
sults, the rioters still exercised their impotent rage upon her 
lifeless body. They beat it, trod upon it, and ill-used it, 
till it became no more than a mass of flesh — unsightly, 
shapeless, and disgusting. 

Unable to prevent this shocking event, Lorenzo and his 
friends had beheld it with the utmost liorror ; but they were 
roused from their compelled inactivity on hearing that the 
mob was attacking the convent of St. Clare. The incensed 
populace, confounding the innocent with the guilty, had re- 
solved to sacrifice all the nuns of that order to their rage, 
and not to leave one stone of the building upon another. 



THE FEMALE MONK 319 

Alarmed at this intelligence, they hnstened to the convent, 
resolved to defend it if possible, or at least to rescue the 
inhabitants from the fury of the rioters. Most of the duds 
had fled, but a few still remained in their habitation. Their 
situation was truly dangerous. However, as they had taken 
the precaution of fastening the inner gates, with this assist- 
ance Lorenzo hoped to repel the mob, till Don Ramirez 
should return to him with a more sufficient force. 

Having been conducted by the former disturbance to the 
distance of some streets from the convent, he did not immedi- 
ately reach it. When he arrived, the throng surrounding it 
was so excessive as to prevent his approaching the gates. In 
the interim, the populace besieged the building with persevei'- 
ing rage ; they battered the walls, threw lit torclies in at tlic 
windows, and swore that by break of day not a nun of St. 
Clare's order should be left alive. Lorenzo had just suc- 
ceeded in piercing his way tlirougli the crowd, when one of 
the gates was forced open. The rioters poured into tlie 
interior part of the building, where they exercised their 
vengeance upon everything which found itself in their pass- 
age. They broke the furniture into pieces, tore down tlieir 
pictures, destroyed the relies, and in their hatred of her 
servant forgot all respect to the saint. Some employed 
themselves in searcliing out the nuns, otliers in pulling down 
parts of the convent, and others again in setting fire to tlie 
pictures and valuable furniture whidi it contained. These 
latter produced the most decisive desolation^ Indeed, the 
consequences of their action were more sudden than them- 
selves had expected or wished. Tlie flames rising from tlie 
burning piles caught part of the building, which being old 
and dry, the conflagration spreading witii rapidity from room 
to room. The walls were soon shaken by the devouring 
element. The columns gave way, the roof came tumbling 
down upon the rioters, and crushed many of them beneatli 
their weight. Nothing was to be heard but shrielcs and 



320 EOSARIO ; OR, 

groans. The convent was wrapped in flames, and the whole 
presented a scene of devastation and horror. 

Lorenzo was shocked at havhig been the cause, however 
innocent, of this frightful distui'bance. He endeavored to 
repair his fault by protecting the helpless inhabitants of the 
convent. He entered it with tlie mob, and exerted himself 
to repress the prevailing fury, till the sudden and alarming 
progress of tlie flames compelled him to provide for his own 
safety. The people now hurried out as eagerly as they had 
before thronged in ; but tlieir numbers clogging up the door- 
way, and the Are gaining upon tliem rapidly, many of them 
perished ere they had time to effect their escape. Lorenzo's 
good fortune directed him to a small door in a further aisle 
of the chapel. The bolt was already undrawn ; he opened 
the door, and found himself a-t the foot of St. Clare's 
sepulchre. 

Here he stopped to breathe. The duke and some of his 
attendants had followed him, and thus were in security for 
the present. They now consulted what steps they should 
take to escape from this scene of disturbance ; but their 
deliberations were considerably interrupted by the sight of 
volumes of fire rising from amidst the convent's massy walls, 
by the noise of some heavy arcli tumbling down in ruins, or 
by tlie mingled shrieks of the nuns and rioters, either suffo- 
cating in the press, perishing in the flames, or crushed be- 
neath the weight of the falling mansion. 

Lorenzo inquired whither the wicket led. He was answered 
to the garden of the Capuchins ; and it was resolved to explore 
an outlet upon that side. Accordingly, the duke raised the 
latcli, and passed into the adjoining cemetery. The attend- 
ants followed without ceremony. Lorenzo being the last, 
was also on the point of quitting the colonnade, when he saw 
the door of the sepulchre opened softly. Some one looked 
out, but on perceiving strangers uttered a loud shriek, started 
back again, and flew down the marble stairs. 



THE FEMALE MONK 321 

"What can this mean?" cried Lorenzo. "Here i8 some 
mystery concealed. Follow me without delay ! " 

Thus saying, he hastened into the sepulchre, and pursued 
the person who continued to fly before him. The duke Icnew 
not the cause of this exclamation, but, supposing that he had 
good reasons foi' it, followed him without hesitation. The 
otliers did the same, and the whole party soon arrived at tiie 
foot of tiic st;\irs. The upper door having been left open, 
the neighboring flames darted from above a sufficient 'liglit to 
enable Lorenzo's catching a glance of the fugitive running 
through the long passages aud distant vaults ; but when a 
sudden turn deprived him of its assistance, total darkness 
succeeded, and he could only trace the object of his inquiry 
by tlie faint eclio of retiring feet. The pursuers were now 
compelled to proceed with caution ; as well as they could 
judge, the fugitive also seemed to slacken pace, for they 
heard the steps follow each other at longer intervals. They 
at length were bewildered by the labyrinth of passages, and 
dispersed in various directions. Carried away by his eager- 
ness to clear up this mystery, and to penetrate into which he 
was impelled by a movement secret and unaccountable, 
Lorenzo heeded not this circumstance till he found himself in 
total solitude. The noise of footsteps had ceased, all was 
silent around, and no clue offered itself to guide him to tlie 
flying person. He stopped to reflect on the means most 
lilcely to aid his pursuit. He was persuaded that no common 
cause would have induced the fugitive to seek that dreary 
place at an hour so unusual ; the cry which he had heard, 
seemed uttered in a voice of terror ; and he was convinced 
that some mystery was attached to this event. After some 
minutes passed in hesitation, he continued to proceed, feeling 
his way along the walls of the passage. He had already 
passed some time in this slow progress, when he descried a 
spark of light glimmering at a distance. Guided by this 
obsei-vation, and having diTiwn his sword, he bent his steps 

EOSABIO 21 



322 ROSAKio : or, 

toward* the place wliouee the beam seemed to be emitted. 

It proceedeil from the lamp which flamed befoiv St. Claiv's 
statue. Before it stood several females, their white irarinent* 
streaming in the blast as it howled along the vaulted dun- 
jreoiis. Curions to know what had bi'ou>ilit them together in 
this melancholy spot, Lorenzo drew near with pivcaiitiou. 
The strangers seemed earnestly eniragvd in convei'sation. 
They heaixl not Lorenzo's steps, and he appixjached un- 
observed, till he could hear their viiiees distinctly. 

'• I protest," continuetl she who was speaking when he 
arrived, and to whom the vest were listening with givat at- 
tention, '• I protest that I saw tliem with my own eyes. 1 
tied down the slep>., they pursued me, and I escaped falling 
into their hands with dillieulty. Had it not been for the 
lamp, I should never have found you." 

"• And what could bring them hithei?" said another, in a 
trembling voice ; •• do you think that they were looking for 
us?" 

'•God grant that my fears maybe false," i-ejoined the 
fii-st; "hut I doubt they are murdeivre ! If they disciwer 
us, we are lost I As for me, my fate is cert^nin. My attiuity 
to the prioress will be a suliicieni crime to condemn me ; and 
though till now these vaults have aft'orded me a retivat . ." 

Here looking nji, her eye fell upon Lorenzo, who had con- 
tinued to .approach slowly. 

" The muitleivrs ! " she cried. 

She started away from the statue's pedestal on which she 
had been seated, and attempted to escape by flight. Her 
companions at the same moment uttered a tevritied scream, 
while Loi-enzo arrested the fugitive by the arm. Frightened 
and desperate she sank upon her knees befoix" him. 

"Spare me! "she exclaimed; " for t'hrisfs sake, spare 
me ! T am innocent, indeed, T am I " 

While she spoke, her voice was almost choked with fear. 
The beams of the lamp darting full upon her face, which was 



THE FKJtALE MOKK 323 

um-6tled, Lorenzo i. 'oguizMl tbe beautiful Virginia de Villa- 
Frarica. Ili^ lia-tfued to raiM- her from the jriound, and be- 
wu^ht Ler to take eoisrage. He proinivf;! to protect Ler from 
the rioters. :is-ured lif^r tliat hor retreat was still a bf-ci et. and 
that she rni^ljt depend upon his reatlinesH to <l(;f(-)i.i her to 
the last drop of his bloo<l. Durinpr this ooiiv^asution, the 
nuns had thrown theui-'-lves^ into various attitu^i'-s : one 
knelt, and addre-s'r'l herself to II(-av.-ji : another hid her face 
in the lap of her neighlx>r ; some li~t<-iied inotiouUss with fear 
t/> the discourse of the suppo-<-'l assassins : while otli'-is em- 
braced the statue of St. Clare, and implored her protection 
with frantic cries. On perceiving their m istakc. they crowded 
round Lorenzo, and heaped benedictions on him 1a- dozens. 
He found that on hearing the threats of tlie mob, and terri- 
fie<l }>y the cnicltie.s which from the convent toners tliejliad 
s(-f-n inflicted on the superior, many of the pensioix-rs and nuns 
lia<i taken refnge in the sepulchre. Among the former was to 
t>e reckoned the lovely Virginia, nearly related to the ]/rioress. 
Sije tiad more reason tlian the rest to dread the riot<-is. and 
now l.esoiiglit Lorenzo earnestly not to abandon her to their 
rage. Her companions, most of whom were women of noble 
family, ma<le the same requi-st. which he readily L'lanted ; he 
promised not 'o quit them till he had sef-n each of them safe 
in the arms of i.er relations. But he advised their deferring 
to quit the sepulci.re for some time longer, when the popular 
fury slionld be somewhat .ajine'l. and the arrival of military 
force have disperse^l tee multitude. 

••Would to God," cr.ed '.'iiginia, '-that I were already 
safe in rny mother s embraces I How say you. Si-fior? Will 
it be long ere we niay leave this place ? Kxi-ry moment that 
I pass here, I pass in torture I " 

■•I hope, not long," said he; -but till you c-an p'oceed 
with security, this sepulchre will prove an impenetrable 
a-sj-lum. Here you run no ri-k of a discover\-, and 1 would 
advise your remainini; quiet forthe next two or three hours." 



324 ROSAEio ; or, 

" Two or three liours ! " excluimecl sister Helena. " If I 
stay another hour in these vaults, I shall expire with fear ! 
Not the wealth of worlds should bribe me to undergo again 
what I have suifered since my coming hither. Blessed 
Virgin ! to be in this melancholy place in the middle of nigiit, 
surrounded by the moldering bodies of my deceased com- 
panions, and expecting every moment to be torn in pieces 
by their ghosts, who wander about me, and complain, and 
groan, and wail in accents that make my blood run cold 
. . . Christ Jesus ! it is enough to drive me to madness ! " 

"Excuse me," replied Lorenzo, " if I am surprised, that 
while menaced by real woes you are capable of yielding to 
imaginary dangers. These terrors are puerile and ground- 
less : combat them, holy sister. I have promised to guard 
yon from the rioters, but against the attacivs of superstition 
you must depeiM for protection upon yourself. The idea of 
ghosts is ridiculous in the extreme ; and if you continue to 
be swa3'ed by ideal terrors . . ." 

" Ideal ! " exclaimed the nuns with one voice, " why, we 
heard it ourselves, Senor ! Everyone of us heard it. It was 
frequently repeated, and it sounded every time more melan- 
choly and deep. You will never persuade me that we could 
all have been deceived. Not we, indeed ; no, no. Had the 
noise been merely created by fancy . . ." 

" Hark ! hark ! " interrupted Virginia, in a voice of terror. 
" God preserve us ! There it is again ! " 

The nuns clasped their hands together, and sank upon 
their knees. Lorenzo looked round him eagerly, and was 
on the point of yielding to the fears which al:-eady had 
possessed the women. Universal silence prevailed. He ex- 
amined the vault, but nothing was to be seen. Ho now pre- 
pared to address the nuns, and ridicule their childish appre- 
hensions, when his attention was arrested by a deep and 
long-drawn groan. 

" What was that? " he cried, and started. 



THE FEMALE MONK 325 

" There, Senor ! " said Helena; " now you must be con- 
vinced ! You have heard the noise yourself ! Now judge 
whether our terrors are imaginary. Since we have been here, 
that groaning has been repeated almost every five minutes. 
Doubtless it proceeds from some soul in pain, who wishes to 
be prayed out of purgatory ; but none of us dare ask it the 
question. As for me, were I to see an apparition, the 
I'nght, I am very certain, would kill me out of hand." 

As she said this, a second groan was heard yet more dis- 
tinctly. The nuns crossed themselves, and hastened to re- 
peat their praj'ers against evil spirits. Lorenzo listened at- 
tentively. He even thought that he could distinguish sosnds 
as of one speaking in complaint, but distance rendered them 
inarticulate. The noise seemed to come from the midst of 
the small vault in which he and the nuns then were, and 
which a multitude of passages branching out in v.nrious 
directions formed into a sort of star. Lorenzo's curiosity, 
which was ever awake, made him anxious to solve this 
mystery. He desired that silence might be kept. The 
nuns obeyed him. All was hushed till the general stillness 
was again disturbed by the groaning, which was repeated 
several times successively. He perceived it to be most 
audible, when upon following the sounds he was conducted 
close to the shrine of St. Clare. 

"The noise comes from hence," said he ; " whose is this 
statue ? " 

Helena, to whom he addressed the question, paused for a 
moment. Suddenly she clapped her hands together. 

" Ay ! " cried she, " it must be so. I have discovered the 
meaning of these groans." 

The nuns crowded round her, and besought her eagerly to 
explain herself. She gravely replied, that for time im- 
memorial the statue had been famous for performing mir- 
acles. From this she inferred that the saint was concerned 
at the conflagration of a convent which she protected, and 



326 BOSABio, or; 



ex 



pressed her grief by audible lamentations. Not having 
equal faith in the miraculous saint, Lorenzo did not think 
this solution of the mystery quite so satisfactory as the nuns, 
who subscribed to it without hesitation. In one point 'tis 
true that lie agreed with Heleua . He suspected that the 
groans proceeded from tlie statue : the more he listened the 
more he was confirmed in this idea. He drew nearer to the 
image, designing to inspect it more closely ; but perceiving 
his intention, the nuns besought him for God's sake to de- 
sist, since, if he touched the statue, his death was inevitable. 

" And in what consists the danger?" said he. 

" Mother of God ! In what? " replied Helena, ever eager 
to relate a miraculous adventure. " If you had only lieard 
the hundredth part, of those marvellous stories about this 
statue, which tlie domiua used to recount ! She assured us 
often and often, that if we only dared to lay a finger upon 
it, we might expect the most fatal consequences. Among 
other things she told us, that a robber having entered these 
vaults by night, he observed yonder ruby, whose value is in- 
estimable. Do you see it, Senor? It sparkles upon the 
third finger of the hand in which she holds a crown of thorns. 
This jewel naturally excited the villain's cupidity. He re- 
solved to make httnself master of it. For this purpose he 
ascended the pedestal ; he supported himself by grasping the 
saint's right arm, and extended his own towards the ring. 
•What was his surprise, when he saw the statue's hand raised 
in a posture of menace, and heard her lips pronounce his 
eternal perdition ! Penetrated with awe and consternation, 
he desisted from his attempt, and prepared to quit the sepul- 
chre. In this he also failed. Flight was denied him. He 
found it impossible to disengage the hand which rested upon 
the right arm of the statue. In vain did he struggle ; he re- 
mained fixed to the image, till the insupportable and fiery 
anguish which darted itself through his veins compelled his 
shrieking for assistance, The sepulchre was now filled witlj 



THE rSMALE MONK 327 

spectators. The villain confessed his saci'ilege, dnd was 
only released by the separation of his hand from his body. 
It has remained ever since fastened to the image. The 
robber turned hermit, and led ever after an exemplary life. 
But yet the saint's decree was performed ; and tradition says 
that he continues to haunt this sepulchr-e, and implore St. 
Clare's pardon with groans and lamentations. Now I think 
of it, those which we have just heard may very possibly 
have been uttered by the ghost of this sinner ; but of this I 
will not be positive. All that I can say is, that since that 
time no one has ever dared to touch the statue. Then do 
not be foolhardy, good Seiior ! For the love of heaven, give 
up your design, nor expose yourself unnecessarily to certain 
destruction." 

Not being convinced that his destruction would be so cer- 
tain as Helena seemed to think it, Lorenzo persisted in his 
resolution. The nuns besought him to desist, in piteous 
terms, and even pointed out the robber's hand, which was in 
effect still visible upon the arm of the statue. This proof, 
as they imagined, must convince him. It was very far from 
doing so ; and they were greatly scandalized when he de- 
clared his suspicion that the dried and shrivelled fingers had 
been placed there by order of the prioress. In spite of their 
prayers and threats he approached the »tatue. He sprang 
over the iron rails which defended it, and the saint under- 
went a thorough examination. The image at first appeared 
to be of stone, but proved on further inspection to be formed 
of no other solid materials than colored wood. He shook it, 
and attempted to move it ; but it appeared to be of a piece 
with the base which it stood upon. He examined it over 
and over ; still no clue guided him to the solution of this 
mystery, for which the nuns were become equally solicitous, 
when they saw that he touched the statue with impunity. 
He paused, and listened ; the groans were repeated at intei-- 
Y3,ls, 3.nd he w^§ cowyiDce4 of being in the spot nearest t9 



328 KosAKio ; or, 

them. He mused upon this singular event, and ran over 
the statue with inquiring eyes. Suddenly they rested upon 
the shrivelled hand. It struck him, that so particular an in- 
junction was not given without cause, not to touch the arm 
of the image. He again ascended tlie pedestal ; he examined 
tlie object of his attention, and discovered a small knob of 
iron concealed between the saint's shoulder and what was 
supposed to have been the hand of the robber. This ob- 
servation delighted him. He applied his fingers to the knob, 
and pressed it down forcibly. Immediately a rumbling 
noise was heard within the statue, as if a chain tightly 
stretclied was flying back. Startled at the sound, the timid 
nuns started away, prepared to hasten from the vault at 
the first appearance of danger. All remaining quiet and 
still, they again gathered round Lorenzo, and beheld his 
proceedings with anxious curiosity. 

Finding that notliing followed tliis discovery, he descended. 
As he took his hand from tlie saint, slie trembled beneath 
his touch. This created new terrors in the spectators, who 
believed tlie statue to be animated. Lorenzo's ideas upon 
the subject were widely different. He easily comprehended 
that tlie noise which he had heard was occasioned by his 
having loosened a chain which attached the image to its 
pedestal. He once more attempted to move it, and suc- 
ceeded without much exertion. He placed it upon the ground, 
and tlien perceived the pedestal to be hoHow, and covered at 
the opening with a heavy iron grate. 

This excited such general curiosity, that the sisters forgot 
both their real and imaginary dangers. Lorenzo proceeded 
to raise the grate, in which the nuns assisted him to tlie 
utmost of their strength. The attempt was accomplished 
with little difHculty. A deep abyss now presented itself be- 
fore them, whose thick obscurity the eye strove in vain to 
pierce. The rays of the lamp were too feeble to be of much 
assistance. Nothing was discernible, save a flight of rough 



THE FEMALE MONK 329 

unshapen steps wliieli sank into the yawning gulf, and were 
soon lost in (lai-kneKs. The groans were heard no more ; 
but all believed them to have ascended from this cavern. 
As he bent over it, Lorenzo fancied that he distinguished 
something bright twinkling through the gloom. He gazed 
attentively upon the spot where it showed itself, and was 
convinced that he saw a small spark of light, now visible, 
now disappearing. He communicated this circumstance to 
the nuns : they also perceived the spark ; but when he de- 
clared his intention to descend into the cave, they nnited to 
oppose his resolution. All their remonstrances could not 
prevail on him to alter it. None of them had courage 
enough to accompany him ; neither could he think of de- 
priving them of the lamp. Alone therefore, and in dark- 
ness, he prepared to pursue his design, while the nuns were 
contented to offer up prayers for his snccess and safety. 

The steps were so narrow and uneven, that to descend 
them was like walking down the side of a precipice. The 
obscurity by which he was surrounded rendered his footing 
insecure. He was obliged to proceed with great caution, 
lest he should miss the steps, and fall into the gulf below 
him. This he was several times on tlie point of doing. 
However, he arrived sooner upon solid ground than he had 
expected. He now found that the thick darkness and im- 
penetrable mists wliich reigned through the cavern had de- 
ceived him into the belief of its being much more profound | 
than it-proved upon inspection. He reached tlie foot of the 
stairs unhurt; he now stopped, and looked round for the 
spark which had before caught his attention. He sought it 
in vain : all was dark and gloomy. He listened for the 
groans ; but his ear caught no sound except tlie distant mur- 
mur of the nuns above, as in low voices they repeated their 
Ave Marias. He stood irresolute to which side he should 
address his steps. At all events he determined to proceed ; 
he did so, but slowly, fearful lest, instead of approaching, 



330 EOSARIO ; OR, 

he should be retiring from the object of his search. The 
groans seemed to announce one in pain, or at least in sor- 
row, and he hoped to have the power of relieving the mourn- 
er's calamities. A plaintive tone, sounded at no great dis- 
tance, at length reached his hearing ; he bent his course 
joyfully towards it. It became more audible as it advanced ; 
and he soon beheld again the spark of light, which a low 
projecting wall had hitherto concealed from him. 

It proceeded from a small lamp which was placed upon a 
heap of stones, and whose faint and melancholy rays served 
rather to point out than dispel the horrors of a narrow, 
gloomy dungeon formed in one side of the cavern ; it also 
showed several other recesses of similar construction, but 
whose depth was buried in obscurity. Coldly played tiie 
ligiit upon the damp walls, whose dew-stained surface gave 
back a feeble reflection. A tliicli and pestilential fog clouded 
the heiglit of the vaulted dungeon. As Lorenzo advanced, 
he felt a piercing chillness spread itself through his veins. 
The frequent gi'oans still engaged him to move forwards. 
He turned towards them, and by tlie lamp's glimmering 
beams belield in a corner of tliis loathsome abode a creature 
stretched upon a bed of straw, so wretched, so emaciated, 
so pale, that he doubted to think her woman. She was half 
naked : her long dishevelled hair fell in disorder over her 
face, and almost entirely concealed it. One wasted arm 
huug listlestly upon a tattered rug, wiiich covered her con- 
vulsed and siiivering limbs ; the otiier was wrapped, round a 
small bundle, and held it closely to her bosom. A large 
rosary lay near her; opposite to her was a crucifix, on which 
she bent her sunk eyes fixedly, and by her side stood a basket 
and a small earthen pitcher. 

Lorenzo stopped : he was petrified with horror. He gazed 
upon the miserable object with disgust and pity. He 
trembled at the spectacle ; he grew sick at heart ; his strength 
iWtU^d him, and liis U'nbs were unable to suppprt hjs weight. 



THE TEMALE MONK 331 

He was obliged to lean against the low wall which was near 
him, unable to go forward or to address the sufferer. She 
cast her eyes towards the staircase : the wall concealed Lo- 
renzo, and she obsei-ved him not. 

"No one comes ! " she at length murmured. 

As she spoke, her voice was hollow, and rattled in her 
throat ; she sighed bitterly. 

"No one comes!" she repeated; "no! they have for- 
gotten me ! they will come no more ! " 

She paused for a moment, then continued mournfully, — 

"Two days! two long, long days, and yet no food, and 
yet no hope, no comfort ! Foolisli woman ! how can I wish 
to lengthen a life so wretched ! Yet such a death ! O God ! 
to perish by such a death ! to linger out such iiges in torture ! 
Till now, I knew not what it was to hunger. Hark ! No! 
no one comes ; they will come no more." 

Siie was silent. She shivered, and drew the rug over her 
naked shoulders. 

" I am very cold ; I am still unused to the damps of this 
dungeon ; 'tis strange ; but no matter. Colder shall I soon 
be, and yet not feel it. I shall be cold, as thou art." 

Slie looked at the bundle, which lay upon her breast. She 
bent over it, and kissed it; thei) drew back hastily, and 
sluiddered with disgust. 

" It was once so sweet ! It would have been so lovely, so 
like him ! I have lost it for ever. How a few days have 
changed it ! I should not know it again myself. Yet it is 
dear to me. God ! how dear ! I will forget what it is ! I 
will only remember what-it was, and love it as well as when 
it was so sweet ! so lovely ! so like him ! I thought that I 
had wept away all my tears, but there is one still linger- 
ing." 

She wiped her eyes with a tress of her hair. She put out 
her hand for the pitcher, and reached it with difficulty. Sh^ 



352 KOSARIO ; OR, 

cist into it a look of hopeless inquiry. She sighed, and re- 
placed it upon the ground. 

" Quite a void ! Not a drop ! Not one drop left to cool 
my scorched-up, burning palate ! Now would I give treas- 
ures for a draught of water ! And they are God's servants 
who make me suffer thus ! They think themselves holy, 
while they torture me like fiends ! They are cruel and un- 
feeling ; and 'tis they who bid me repent ; and 'tis they who 
threaten me with eternal perdition ! Saviour ! Saviour ! you 
think not so ! " 

She again fixed her eyes upon the crucifix, took her rosary, 
and, while she told her beads, the quick motion of her lips 
declared her to be praying with fervency. 

While he listened to her melancholy accents, Lorenzo's 
sensibility became yet more violently affected. ^ The first 
sight of such misery had given a sensible shock to his feel- 
ings ; but that being past, he now advanced towards the 
captive. She heard his steps, and, uttering a cry of joy, 
dropped the rosary. 

" Hark ! hark ! hark ! " she cried, " someone comes ! " 

She strove to raise herself, but her strengtli wiis unequal 
to, the attempt ; she fell back, and as slie sank ngairi upon 
the bed of straw, Loi'enzo heard the rattling of heavy chains. 
He still approached, while the prisoner thus continued, — 

" Is it you, Camilla? You are come, then, at last? Oh ! 
it was time ! I thought that you had forsaken me ; that I 
was doomed to perish of hunger. Give me to drink, Camilla, 
for pity's sake ; I am faint with long fasting, and grown so 
weak that I cannot raise myself from the ground. Good 
Camilla, give me to drink, lest I expire before you." 

Fearing that surprise in her enfeebled state might be fatal, 
Lorenzo was at a loss how to address her. 

"It is not Camilla," said he at length, speaking in a slow 
and gentle voice. 

"Who is it, then?" replied the sufferer. "Alix, per- 



THE FEMALE MONK 333 

haps, or Violante. My eyes are grown so dim and feeble, 
that I cannot distinguish your features ; but, whichever it is, 
if your breast is sensible of the least compassion, if you are 
not more cruel than wolves and tigers, take pity on my 
sufferings. Yon know that I am dying for want of susten- 
ance. This is the third day since these lips have received 
nourishment. Do you bring me food? Or come you only 
to announce my death, and learn how long I have yet to 
exist in agony? " 

"You mistake my business," replied Lorenzo. "T am 
no emissary of the cruel prioress. 1 pity your sorrows, and 
come hither to relieve them." 

" To relieve them?" repeated the captive ; " said you, to 
relieve them ? " 

At the same time starting from the ground, and support- 
ing herself upon her hands, she gazed upon the stranger 
earnestly. 

"Great God! is it no illusion! A man? Speak! who 
are you? What brings you hither ? Come you to save me, 
or restore me to liberty, to life and light? Oh! speak, 
speak quickly, lest I encourage a hope whose disappoint- 
ment will destroy me." 

" Be calm ! " replied Lorenzo, in a voice soothing and 
compassionate. "The domina of whose cruelty you com- 
plain has already paid the forfeit of her offenses ; yon have 
nothing more to fear from her. A few minutes will restore 
you to liberty and the embraces of your friends, from whom 
you have been secluded. You may rely upon my protection. 
Give me your hand, and be not fearful. Let me conduct 
you where you may receive those attentions which your 
feeble state requires." 

" Oh ! yes ! yes ! yes ! " cried the prisoner, with an exult- 
ing shriek ; " there is a God then, and a just one ! Joy ! 
joy ! I shall once more breathe the fresh air, and view the 
light of the glorious sunbeams! I will go with you! 



334 KOSARio ; or, 

Stranger, I will go with you ! Oh ! Heaven will bless you 
for pitying an unfortunate ! But this too must go with me," 
she added, pointing to the small bundle, which she still 
clasped to her bosom; "I cannot part with this. I will 
bear it away ; it shall convince the world how dreadful are 
the abodes so falsely termed religious. Good stranger ! lend 
me your hand to rise ; I am faint with want, and sorrow, 
and sickness, and my strength has quite forsaken me ! So, 
that is well ! '-' 

As Lorenzo stooped to raise her, the beams of the lamp 
struck full upon his face. 

" Almighty God ! " she exclaimed, " is it possible ! That 
look ! those features ! Oh ! yes, it is, it is . . . ." 

She extended her arms to throw them round him, but her 
enfeebled frame was unable to sustain the emotions which 
rigitated her bosom. She fainted, and again sank upon the 
bod of straw. 

Lorenzo was surprised at her last exclamation. He 
thought that he had before heard such accents as her hollow 
voice had just formed, but where he could not remember. 
He saw that iu her dangerous situation immediate physical 
aid was absolutely necessary, and he hastened to convey her 
from the dungeon. He was at first prevented from doing so 
by a strong cliain fastened round the prisoner's body, and 
lixing her to tiie neighboring wall. However, his natural 
strength beiug aided by anxiety to relieve the unfortunate, 
he soon forced out tlie staple, to which one end of the chain 
was attached ; then taking the captive in his arms, he bent 
his course towards the staircase. The rays of the lamp 
above, as well ;is the murnnir of female voices, guided his 
steps. He gained the stairs, and in a few minutes after ar- 
rived at the iron grate. 

The nuns during his absence had been terribly tormented 
by curiosity and apprehension. They were equally sur- 
prised and delighted on seeing him suddenly emerge from 



THE FEMALE MONK 335 

the cave. Every heart was filled with compassion for the 
miserable creature whom he bore in his arms. While the 
nuns, and Virginia in particular, employed themselves in 
striving to recall her to her senses, Lorenzo related in a few 
words the manner of his finding her. He tlien observed to 
them that by this time the tumult must have been quelled, 
and that he could now conduct them to their friends without 
danger. All were eager to quit tlie sepuleiue. Still, to 
prevent all possibility of ill-usage, they besouglit Lorenzo to 
venture out first alone, and examine whether the coast was 
clear. With this request he complied. Helena offered to 
conduct him to the staircase, and they were on the point of 
departing, when a strong light flashed from several jDassages 
upon the adjacent walls. At the same time steps were heard 
of people approaching liastiiy, and whose number seemed to 
be considerable. The nuns were greatly alarmed at tiiis 
circumstance ; they supposed their retieat to be discovered, 
and the rioters to be advancing in pursuit of them. Hastily 
quitting the prisoner, who remained insensible, they crowded 
round Lorenzo, and claimed his promise to protect them. 
Virginia alone forgot her own danger by striving to relieve 
the sorrows of another. She supported the sufferer's head 
upon her knees, bathing her temples with rose water, chafing 
her cold hands, and sprinkling her face with tears whicli 
were drawn from her by compassion. The strangers ap- 
proaching nearer, Lorenzo was enabled to dispel the fears of 
tlie suppliants. His name, pronounced b}' a number of 
voices, among which he distinguisiied the duke's, pealed 
along the vaults, and convinced him that he was the object 
of their search. He communicated this intelligence to the 
nuns, who received it with rapture. A few moments after 
confirmed this idea. Don Ramirez as well as the duke ap- 
peared, followed by attendants with torches. They had 
been seeking him through the vaults, in order to let him 
know that the mob was dispersed, and the riot entirely over. 



336 EOSARio ; or, 

Lorenzo recounted briefly his adventure in the ca\ern, and 
explained how much the unknown was in want of medical 
assistance. He besought the duke to take charge of her, as 
well as of the nuns and pensioners. 

" As for me, ''said he, " other cares demand my attention. 
While you with one-half of the archers convey these ladies 
to their respective homes, I wish the other half to be left 
with me. I will examine the cavern below, and pervade the 
most secret recesses of the sepulchre. I cannot rest till con- 
vinced that yonder wretched victim was the only one con- 
fined by superstition in these vaults." 

Tlie duke applauded his intention. Don Ramirez offered 
to assist him in his inquiry, and his proposal was accepted 
with gratitude. The nuns having made their acknowl- 
edgments to Lorenzo, connnitted themselves to the care of 
his uncle, and were conducted from the sepulchre. Vir- 
ginia requested that the unknown might be given to her in 
charge, and promised to let Lorenzo know whenever she was 
sufficiently recovered to accept his visits. In truth, she made 
this promise more from consideration for herself than for 
either Lorenzo or the captive. She had witnessed his polite- 
ness, gentleness, and intrepidity with sensible emotion. She 
wished earnestly to preserve his acquaintance ; and in addition 
to the sentiments of pity which the prisoner excited, she 
hoped that her attention to this unfortunate would raise her 
a degree in the esteem of Lorenzo. She had no occasion to 
trouble herself upon this head. The kindness already dis- 
played by her, and the tender concern which she had shown 
for the sufferer, had gained her an exalted place in his good 
graces. "While occupied in alleviating the captive's sorrows, 
the nature of her employment adorned her with new charms, 
and rendered her beauty a thousand times more interesting. 
Lorenzo viewed her with admiration and delight ; he con- 
sidered her fi.s a ministering angel descended to the aid of 
afflicted innocence ; nor could his heart have resisted her 



THE FEMALE MONK 337 

attractions, had it not been steeled by the remembrance of 
Antonia. 

The diiiie now conveyed the nuns in safety to the dwellings 
of their respective friends. The rescued prisoner was still 
insensible, and gave no signs of life, except by occasional 
groans. SLe was-borne upon a sort of litter. Virginia, who 
was constantly by the side of it, was apprehensive that, ex- 
hausted by long abstinence, and shaken by the sudden change 
from bonds and darkness to liberty and light, her frame would 
never get the better of the shock. Lorenzo and Don Ramirez 
still remained in the sepulchre. After deliberating upon their 
proceedings, it was resolved that, to prevent losing time, the 
archers should be divided into two bodies ; that witii Don 
Eamirez should examine the cavern, while Lorenzo, with the 
other, might penetrate into the further vaults. This being 
arranged, and liis followers being provided with torches, Don 
Eamirez advanced to the cavern. He had already descended 
some steps, when he heard people approaching hastily from 
the interior part of the sepulchre. This surprised him, and 
he quitted the cave precipitately. 

" Do you hear footsteps?" said Lorenzo. " Let us bend 
our course towards tliem. 'Tis from this side that they seem 
to proceed." 

At that moment a loud and piercing shriek induced him 
to quicken his steps. 

" Help ! help ! for God's sake ! " cried a voice, whose melo- 
dious tone penetrated Lorenzo's heart with terror. 

He flew towards the cry with the rapidity of lightning, and 
was followed by Don Ramirez with equal swiftness. 



RosAKio 22 




All this while Ambrosio was unconscious of the dreadful 
scenes which were passing so near. The execution of his 
designs upon Antonia employed his every thought. Hitherto 
he was satisfied with the success of his plans. Antonia had 
drunk the opiate, was buried in the vaults of St. Clare, and 
absolutely in his disposal. Matilda, who was well acquainted 
with the nature and effects of the soporific medicine, had 
computed that it would not cease to operate till one in the 
morning. For that hour he waited with impatience. The 
festival of St. Clare presented him with a favorable oppor- 
tunity of consummating his crime. He was certain that the 
friars and nuns would be engaged in the procession, and that 
he had no cause to dread an interruption ; from appearing 
himself at the head of his monks, he had desired to be ex- 
cused. He doubted not that, being beyond the reach of 
help, cut off from all the world, and totally in his power, 
Antonia would comply with his desires. The affection which 
she had eve.* expressed for him warranted this persuasion ; 
but he resolved that, should she prove obstinate, no con- 
sideration whatever should prevent him from enjoying her. 
Secure from a discovery, he shuddered not at the idea of 
employing force ; or, if he felt any repugnance, it arose not 
from a principle of shame or compassion, but from his feel- 



THE FEMALE MONTJ; 339 

ing for Antouia the most sincere aud ardent affection, and 
wishing to one her favors to no one bnt herself. 

The monks quitted the abbey at midnight. Matilda was 
among the choristers, and led the chant. Ambrosio was left 
by himself, and at liberty to pursue his own inclinations. 
Convinced that no one remained behind to watch his motions, 
or disturb his pleasures, he now hastened to the western 
aisles. His heart beating with hope not unmingled witli 
anxiety, he crossed the garden, unlocked the door which ad- 
mitted him into the cenieterj', and in a few minutes he stood 
before the vaults. Here he paused ; he looked round him 
with susp<cion, conscious that his business was unfit for any 
other eye. As he stood in hesitation, he heard the melan- 
choh- shriek of the screech-owl; the wind rattled -loudly 
against the window of the adjacent convent, and, as (he 
current swept by him, bore with it the faint notes of the 
chant of choristers. He opened the door cautiously, as if 
fearing to be overheard ; he entered aud closed it again after 
him. Guided by his lamp, he threaded the long passages, 
in whose windings Matilda had instructed him, aud reached 
the private vault which contained his sleeping mistress. 

Its entrance was by no means easy to discover ; but this 
was no obstacle to Ambrosio, who at the time of Antonia's 
funeral had obsei-ved it too carefully to be deceived. He 
found the door, which was unfastened, pushed it open, and 
descended into the dungeon. He approached the humble 
tomb in which Antonia reposed. He had provided himself 
with an iron crow and a pickaxe ; but this precaution was 
unnecessai-y. The grate was slightly fastened on the out- 
side ; he raisetl it, and placing the lamp upon its ridge, bent 
silently over the tomb. By the side of three putrid, half- 
corrupted bodies lay tlie sleeping beauty. A lively red, the 
forenmner of returning ani^uation, Iiad already spread itself 
over her cheeks ; and as wi-apped in her shroud she reclfned 
upon her funeral bier, she seemed to smile at the images of 



340 ROSAEIO ; OR, 

deatli around her. While she gazed upon their rotting bones 
and disgusting figures, who perhaps were once as sweet and 
lovely, Ambrosio thought upon Elvira, by him reduced to 
the same state. As the memory of that horrid act glanced 
upon his mind, it was clouded with a gloomy horror; yet it 
served but to strengthen his resolution to destroy Antonia's 
honor. 

" For your sake, fatal beauty ! " muriiuired the monk, while 
gazing on his devoted prey, " for your sake have I committed 
this murder, and sold myself to eternal tortures. Now you 
are in my power : the produce of my guilt will at least be mine. 
Hope not that your prayers breathed iu tones of unequalled 
melody, your bright eyes filled with tears, and your hands 
lifted in supplication, as when seeking in penitence the Vir- 
gin's pardon ; hope not, that your moving innocence, your 
beauteous grief, or all your suppliant arts, shall ransom you 
fiom my embraces. Before the break of day, mine you must, 
and mine you shall be ! " 

He lifted her, still motionless, from the tomb ; he seated 
himself upon a bank of stone, and, supporting her in his arms, 
watched impatiently for the sj'mptoms of returning animation. 
Scarcely could he command his passions sufficiently to restrain 
himself from enjoying her while yet insensible. His natural 
lust was increased in ardor by the difficulties which had 
opposed his satisfying it ; as also bj' his long abstinence from 
woman, since, from the moment of resigning her claim to Ms 
love, Matilda had exiled him from her arms for ever. 

" I am no prostitute, Ambrosio," had she told him, when, 
in the fulness of his lust, he demanded her favors with more 
than usual earnestness. "I am now no more than your 
friend, and will not be your mistress. Cease then to solicit 
my complying with desires which insult me. While your 
heart was mine, I gloried iu your embraces. Those happy 
tim«s are past ; my person is become indifferent to you, and 
'tis necessity, not love, wHich makes you seek my enjoyment. 



THE FEMALE MONK 341 

I cannot yield to a request so humiliating to my pride." 
Suddenly deprived of pleasures, the use of which had made 
them an absolute want, the monk felt this restraint severely. 
Naturally addicted to the gratification of the senses, in tlie 
full vigor of manhood and heat of blood, he had suffered his 
temperament to acquire such ascendency that his lust was 
become madness. Of his fondness for Antonia, none but 
the grosser particles remaiued ; he longed for the possession 
of her person ; and even the gloom of the vault, the surround- 
ing silence, and the resistance which he expected from her, 
seemed to give a fresh edge to his fierce and unbridled de- 
sires. 
I 

Gradually he felt the bosom which rested against his glow 
with returning warmth. Her heart throbbed again, her blood 
flowed swifter, and her lips moved. At length she opened 
her eyes ; but still oppressed and bewildei'ed by the effects of 
the strong opiate, she closed them again iunnediately. Ara- 
brosio watched her narrowly, nor permitted a movement to 
escape him. Perceiving that she was fullj' restored to ex- 
istence, he caught her in rapture to his bosom, and closely 
pressed his lips to hers. The suddenness of his action sufficed 
to dissipate the fumes wliicii oliscured Anton ia's reason. 
She hastily raised herself, and cast a wild look round her. 
The strange images which presented themselves on every 
side contfibuted to confuse her. She put her hand to her 
head, as if to settle her disordered iningination. At length 
she took it away, and threw lier eyes tiirougli the dungeon a 
second time. Tliey fixed on the abbot's face. 

"Where am I?" she siiid abruptly. " How came I here? 
Where is my mother? Mctliought I saw her ! Oh ! a dream, 
a dreadful, dreadful dream told nic .... But where am I? 
Let me go ! 1 cannot st.ny liere ! " 

She attempted to rise, but tlie monk prevented her. 

"Be calm, lovely Antonia!" ke replied; "no danger is 
near you ; confide in my protection. Why do you gaze on 



342 EOSARio ; or, 

me so earnestly ? Do yoii not know me ? Not know your 
friend, Ambrosio?" 

" Ambrosio? mj' friend ? — oh ! yes, yes ; I remember . . . 
But why am I liere ? Wlio has liroiiglit me? Why are you 
with me? Oh! Flora bade nie beware .... Here are 
nothing but graves, and tombs, and skolctoiis ! Tliis place 
frightens me ! Good Ambrosio, take me away from it, for 
it recalls my fearful dream ! Methoiight I was dead, and 
laid in my grave ! Good Ambrosio, take me from hence ! 
Will yon not? Oh ! will yoii not? Do not look on me thus ! 
Your flaming eyes terrify nie ! Spare me, father ! Oh ! spare 
me for God's sake ! " 

" Why these terrors, Antonia?" rejoined the aVjbot, fold- 
ing her in his arms, and covering her bosom with kisses which 
she in vain strnggled to avoid. " What fear you from me, 
from one who adores you? What matteis it where you are? 
This sepulchre seems to me Love's bower. This gloom is the 
friendly night of Mystery, wliich he spreads over our delights ! 
Such do I think it, and such must my Antonia. Yes, my 
sweet girl ! yes ! Your veins shall glow with the fire which 
circles in mine, and my transports shall be doubled by your 
sharing them ! " 

While he spoke thus, Antonia, now sensible of her danger, 
forced herself from his arms, and her shroud being her only 
garment, she wrapped it closely round her. 

"Unhand me, father!" she cried, her honest indignation 
tempered by alarm at her unprotected position. " Whj' have 
you brought me to this place? Its appearance freezes me 
with horror! Convey me from hence, if you have the least 
sense of pity and humanity ! Let me return to the house, 
wliich I have quitted I know not how ; but stay here one 
moment longer, I neither will nor ought." 

Though the monk was somewhat startled by the resolute 
tone in which this speech was delivered, it produced upon 
him no other effect than surprise. He caught her hand, 



THE FEMALE MONK 343 

forced her upon bis knees, and, gazing upon Iht witL gloating 
eyes, he thus replied to her, — 

" Compose yourself, Antonia. Resistimce is unavjuling, 
and I need disavow my passion for yon no loiigir. Y(jii are 
imagined dead ; society is for ever lost to you. You :iie ab- 
solutely in my power, but I would owe my happiness to your- 
self. My lovely girl ! luy adorable Antonia ! this struggling 
is childish," he continued, seeing her repel his caresscss, and 
endeavor to escape from his grasp ; " no aid is near ; neither 
heaven nor earth shall save you from my embraces ! " 

AVith every moment the friar's passion became more ar- 
dent, and Antonia's terror more intense. She struggled to 
disengage herself from his arms. Her exertions were un- 
successful ; and she shrieked for assistance with all her 
strength. The aspect of the vault, the pale glimmering of 
the lamp, the surrounding obscurity, the sight of the tombs, 
and the objects of mortality which met her eyes on every 
side, were ill calculated to inspire her with those emotions 
by which the friar was agitated. Even his caresses teriifled 
her from their fury, and created no other sentinietjt tban 
fear. Antonia's shrieks were unheard ; yet she continued 
them, nor abandoned her endeavors to escape, till exhausted 
and out of breath she sank from his arms upon her knees, 
and once more had recourse to prayers and supplications. 
This attempt had no better success than the former. The 
monk clasped her to his bosom almost lifeless with terror 
and faint with struggling. He stifled her cries, treated her 
with the rudeness of an unprincipled barbarian, and, in the 
violence of liis delirium, wounded and bruised her tender 
limbs. 

Scarcely had he succeeded in his design, than he shud-- 
dered at himself, and the means by which it was effected. 
The very excess of his former eagerness now contributed to 
inspire him with disgust ; and a secret impulse made him 
feel how base and unmanly was the crime which he had just 



344 ROSAKio ; or, 

committed. She, who so lately had been the object of his 
adoration, now raised no other sentiment in his lieart than 
aversion and rage. He turned away from her ; or, if his 
eyes rested upon her figure involuntarily, it was only to dart 
upon her looks of hate. Tlie unfortunate remained stretclied 
upon the earth in silent despair ; the tears chased each otlier 
slowly down her cheeks, and her bosom heaved with fre- 
quent sobs. Oppressed with gi'ief, she continued for some 
time in this state of torpidity. At length she rose with 
difficulty, and, dragging her feeble steps towards the door, 
prepared to quit the dungeon. 

The sound of her footsteps roused the monk from his 
sullen apathy. Starting from the tomb against which he re- 
clined, while his eyes wandered over the images of cor- 
ruption contained in it, he pursued the victim of his brutality, 
and soon overtook her. He seized her by the arm, and 
violently forced her back into the dungeon. 

"Whither go you?" he cried in a stern voice ; " retiu'u 
this instant ! " 

Antonia trembled at the fury of his countenance. 

" What would you more?" she said with timidity. "Is 
not my ruin completed? Is not your cruelty contented, or 
have I yet more to suffer ? Let me depart ; let me return to 
my home, and weep unrestrained my shame and my afflic- 
tion ! " 

" Return to your home ! " repeated the monk, with bitter 
and contemptuous mockery ; then suddenly, his eyes flaming 
with passion, "what? That you may denounce me to the 
world? that you may proclaim me -a hypocrite, a betrayer, a 
monster of cruelty, and ingratitude ? No, no, no ! I know 
well the whole weight of my offenses ; well, that your com- 
plaints would be too just, and my crimes too notorious ! 
You shall not from hence to tell Madrid that I am a villain ; 
that my conscience is loaded with sins, which make me 
despair of Heaven's pardon. Wretched girl, you must stay 



THE FEMALE MONK 345 

here with me ! Here amidst these lonely tombs, these 
images of death, these rotting, loathsome, corrupted bodies ! 
Here shall you stay, and witness my sufferings ; witness 
what it is to be in the horrors of despondency, and breathe 
the last groan in blasphemy and curses ! And whom am I 
to thank for this ? What seduced me into crimes, whose bare 
remembrance makes me shudder ! F'atal Tfitch ! was it not 
thy beauty? Have you not plunged my soul into infamy? 
Have you not made me a perjured hypocrite, an a.ssiissin? 
Nay, at this moment, does not that angel look bid mo despair 
of God's forgiveness ? Oh ! when I stand before His judg- 
ment throne, that look will suffice to damn me ! You will 
tell my judge, that you were happy till /saw you ; tliat you 
were innocent till I polluted you ! You will come with 
those tearful eyes, those cheeks pale and ghastly, those 
hands lifted in supplication, as when you sought from me 
tliat mercy whicii I gave not ! Then will my perdition 
be certain? Then will come your mother's ghost, and hurl 
lie down into the dwellings of fiends, and flames, and furies, 
and everlasting torments ! And 'tis you who will accuse me ! 
'tis you who will cause my eternal anguish ! — you, wretched 
girl ! you ! you ! " 

As he thundered out these words, he violently grasped 
Antouia's arm, and spurned the earth with delirious fury. 

Supposing his brain to be turned, Antonia sank in terror 
ipon her knees ; she lifted up her hand, and her voice almost 
died away ere she could give it utterance. 

" Spare me ! spare me ! " she murmured with difficulty. 

" Silence ! " cried the friar madly, and dashed her upon 
the ground. 

He quitted her, and paced the dungeon with a wild and 
disordered air. His eyes rolled fearfully. Antonia trembled 
whenever she met their gaze. He seemed to meditate on 
something horrible, and she gave up all hopes of escaping 
from the sepulchre with life. Yet in harboring this idea she 



346 ROSARio, OR ; 

did him injustice. Amidst the horror and disgust to which 
his soul was a prey, pity for his victim still held a place in 
it. The storm of passion once over, of the desires which 
had urged him to the crime, no trace was left in his bosom, 
and fain would lie have wiped from his memory the scene 
whicli hail just passed. As his gloomy rage abated, in pro- 
portion did his compassion augment for Antonia. He 
stopped, and would have spoken to lier words of comfort; 
but ho knew net from whence to draw them, and remained 
gazing upon her with mournful wilflness. Her situation 
seemed so liofieless, so woebegone, as to baffle mortal power 
to relieve her. What could he do for her? Hci- peace of 
mind was lost, she was cut off for ever from society, nor 
dared he give her back to it. He was conscious that, were 
she to appear in the world again, his guilt would be revealed, 
and his punishment inevitable. To one so laden with crimes, 
death came armed with double terrors. Yet should he re- 
store Antonia to light, and stand the chance of her betray- 
ing him, how miserable a prospect woukl present itself be- 
fore her ! She coulil never liope to be creditably established ; 
she would be marked with infamy, and condemned to sor- 
row and solitude for the remainder of her existence. What 
was the alternative ? A resolution far more terrible for An- 
tonia, but which at least would ensure the abbot's safety. 
He determined to leave the world persuaded of her death, 
and to retain her a captive in this gloomy prison. There he 
proposed to visit lier every night, to bring lier food, to pro- 
fess his penitence, and mingle his tears with hers. The 
monk felt that this resolution was unjust and cruel ; but it 
was his only means to prevent Antonia from publishing his 
guilt and her own iiifamy. Should he release her, he could 
not depend upon her silence. His offense was too flagrant 
to permit his hoping for her forgiveness. Besides her re- 
appearing would excite universal curiosity, and the violence 
of her afflictions would prevent her from concealing its 



THE FEMALE MONK 347 

cause. He determined, therefore, that Antonia should re- 
main a prisoner in the dungeon. 

He approached her with confusion painted on his counten- 
ance. He raised her from the ground. Her hand trembled 
as he took it, and he dropi^ed it again as if he had touched a 
serpent. Nature seemed to recoil at the touch. He felt 
himself at once repulsed from and attracted towards her, yet 
could account for neither sentiment. There was something 
in her look which penetrated him with horror ; and though 
his understanding was still ignorant of it, conscience pointed 
out to him the whole extent of his crime. In hurried ac- 
cents, yet the gentlest he could find, while his eye was 
averted, and his voice scarcely audible, he strove to console 
her under a misfortune which now could not be avoided. 
He declared himself sincerely penitent, and that he would 
gladly shed a drop of his blood for evei-y tear which his bar- 
baiity had forced from her. Wretched and hopeless, An- 
tonia listened to him in silent grief ; but when he announced 
her confinement in the sepulchre, that dreadful doom, to 
which even death seemed preferable, roused her from her in- 
sensibility at once. To linger out a life of misery in a nar- 
row loathsome cell, known to exist by no human being save 
her ravisher, surrounded by mouldering corpses, breathing 
the pestilential air of corruption, never more to behold the 
light, or drink the pure gale of heaven — the idea was more 
terrible than she could support. It conquered even her ab- 
horrence of the friar. Again she sank upon her knees ; she 
besought his compassion in terras the most pathetic and 
urgent ; she promised, would he but restore her to liberty, 
to conceal her injuries from the world : to assign any reasons 
for her reappearance which he might judge proper ; and in 
order to prevent the least suspicion from falling upoli him, 
she offered to quit Madrid immediately. Her entreaties 
were so urgent as to make a considerable impression upon 
the monk. He reflected, that as her person no longer ex- 



348 ROSARio ; or, 

cited liis desires, he had no interest in keeping her concealed 
as he had at first intended ; that lie was adding a fresh in- 
jury to those which she had already suffered ; and that, if 
she adhered to lier promises, whetlier slie was confined or at 
liberty, his life and reputation wore eqiuilly secure. On Uie 
other hand, he trembled lost in her affliction Autonia should 
unintentionally break her engagement, or that her excessive 
simplicity and ignorance of deceit sliould permit someone 
more artful to surprise her secret. However well-founded 
were these apprehensions, compassion, and a sincere wish to 
repair his fault as inncli as possible, solicited his complying 
with tlie prayers of his suppliiuit. The difficulty of coloring 
Anlonia's unexpected return to life, after iier supposed 
deatii and public interment, was the only point which kept 
him irresolute. He was still pondering on the means of re- 
moving this obstacle when he heard the sound of feet ap- 
proacliiiig with precipitation. Tiie door of tlie vault was 
Uirown open, and Matilda rushed in, evidently much con- 
fused and terrified. 

On seeing a stranger enter, Antonia uttered a cry of joy ; 
but her hopes of receiving succour from him were soon dissi- 
pated. The supposed novice, without expressing the least 
surprise at finding a woiiuin alone with the monk, in so 
strange a place, and at so late an hour, addressed him thus 
without losing a moment : — 

" Wliat is to be done, Ambrosio? We are lost unless 
sonic speedy means is found of dispelling the rioters. Am- 
brosio, the convent of St. Chire is on fire ; the prioress is 
fallen a victim to the fury of the mob. Already is the abbey 
menaced with a similar fate. Alarmed at the threats of the 
lieople, the monks seek for you everywhere. They imagine 
ih;it your antliority alone will sullice to calm this, disturb- 
ance. No one knows what is become of you, and your ab- 
sence creates universal astonishment and despair. 1 profited 



THE FEMALE MONK 349 

by the confusion, and fled thither to warn you of the 
danger." 

" This will soon be remedied," answered tlie abbot; "I 
will hasten back to my cell : a trivial reason will account for 
my having been missed." 

"Impossible!" rejoined Matilda. "The sepulchre is 
filled with archers. Lorenzo de Medina, with several officers 
of the Inquisition, searches through the vaults, and pervades 
every passage. You wiU be intercepted in your flight ; 
your reasons for being at this late hour in the sepulchre will 
be examined; Autonia will be found, and then you are un- 
done for ever ! " 

" Lorenzo de Medina ! Officers of the Inquisition ! What 
brings them here? Seek they for me? Am I then sus- 
pected? Oh ! speak, Matilda ! Answer me in pity ! " 

" As yet they do not think of you ; but I fear that they 
will ere long. Your only chance of escaping their notice 
rests upon tiie difficult}' of exploring this vault. Tlie door 
is artfully hidden ; haply it may not be observed, and we 
may remain concealed till the search is over." 

"But, Antonia . . . should the inquisitors draw near, 
and her cries be heard. . . ." 

" Thus I remove that danger ! " interrupted Matilda. 

At the same time drawing a poniard, she rushed upon her 
devoted prey. 

" Hold ! hold ! " cried Ambrosio, seizing her hand, and 
wresting from it the already lifted weapon. " What would 
you do, cruel woman ? The unfortunate has already suffered 
but too much, thanks to your pernicious counsel I Would 
to God that I liad never followed them ! Would to God 
that I had never seen your face ! " 

Matilda darted upon him a look of scorn. 

" Absurd ! " she exelaimea with an air of passion and 
majesty, which impressed the monk with awe. " After rob- 
bing her of all that made it dear, can you fear to deprive her 



350 ROSAKIO ; OR, 

of a life so miserable? But 'tis well ! Let licr livo to con- 
vince you of yoiif folly. I abandon you to your evil ilcHliny ! 
I disclaim your alliance 1 Who I.i'cmiMi'h to (•(jniniil. so iii- 
significant a crime, deserves not my protecUon. lliiiUl 
hark! Ainbrosio ; hcnr you nol, thi^ nrchcrs':' Tlicy conic, 
and your destruction is incvil-nhle ! " 

At this moiiu^il tlio al)1i()t hciird the sound of diHliint 
voices. He (lew to close the door, on whose conceMlnient 
his safety depended, and which MiiXildn liiul n(^i;leclred to 
fnsten. Ere he could re;u'h it, ho saw Ant.oniii glide sud- 
(hnily by him, rush through the door, and fly lowiirds the 
noise with the swiftness of an arrow. She had listened at- 
tentively to MiUrilda ; she heard Lorenzo's name menl-ioned, 
and ri«olved to risk everythinfj;' to throw herself under his 
protection. The door was open. The sounds convinee(l lier 
that the archers (umld b(^ at no fi'reat distance. Klie nuis- 
tered up her little remaining- strenf-tli, rushed by the monk 
ere he perceived her design, and bent her course rapidly to- 
wards the voiec^s. As soon as he recovered from his lirst 
surprise, the abbot failed not to puisne Iku'. Jn vain did 
Antonia ledoublc h(U' speed, and stretch every nerve to the 
utmost. Her enemy gained upon her every moment : she 
heard his steps close lifter her, and Celt the heatof his brealh 
glow upon her neck. !l(M>veitook her ; hetwisled his hands 
in the ringlets of her sl.i'caming hair, and iitteiniited to drag 
her hack with him to the dungeon. Antonia. resisted with 
all her strength. She folded her arms round a pillar which 
supported the roof, and shrieked loudly for assistance. Jn 
vain did the monk strive to threaten her to silence. 

" Help 1 " she continued to exclaim ; " Iiclp ! help ! for ( lod's 
sake ! " 

(iuickened by her cries, the sound of foolslciis wiis heard 
approaching. The abbot expected cveiy monieni, lo see the 
inquisitors arrive. Antonia still ivsisted, .■ind he now en- 
forced her silence by means the most horrible and inhuman. 



THE FEMALK MONK 3i)l 

He Htill f^i'iiHpitd Matilda's dn^gcr, without allowing liirnsclf 
a moment's ii^dcction ; he raised it, and plunged it twice in 
tiio l)OBom of Antonia I She siirickcd, and sank upon the 
fj;i'ound. Tiie monk endi'iivored to Ixiiii- her luvay with hirn, 
lull, she. still (Mrihra(M!d the piUai' firmly. At that instant the 
ii^lit of approaching tdichcs flashed u))on the walls. Dn^ad- 
iug a diseovery, Amhi'osio was ('ompellcd to iiJiiiiidon his 
victim, and iiastily iU'A hack to the vault, wher(' Ik; had left 
Matilda. 

lie fled not unol)Herved. Don Ilamire/. happening to ari'ive 
the fii'sL, perceived a female bleeding upon the ground, and 
a man flying fioni the spot, whose confusion iH^ti'ayed liiui 
for the inui-der(^r. He instanlly ])ursued the fiigil.ivi^ with 
some part of t\n: arclu^i's, while the otiiers remnined witii 
Lon^ii/o (,o pi'i)te(d, llie wounded stranger. They raisinl licr, 
•And HUppoi'Led her in their iii'nis. She had raint(!(l from ex- 
cess of pii,in, hut soon gave signs of retiu'uing life. Slui 
opeiieil liei' eyes; and on lifl/mg up lier hesul, tiu^ ((M;iiiti<;y of 
fair hair f(!ll hack, wiiiclitill tlK^n had ohsiMirc^l lier fetitiu-es. 

" (!od Almighty ! it is Antonia. ! " 

Suctii was Lorenzo's exclanuition, whih^ Ik^ snatched her 
from the attendnnt's iirms, aii<l ('laHpeil her in iiis own. 

Tliongii iiiuKMl by iin uiu'.ertaiu hand, the ijoiiini'd had an- 
.swere(l but 1,00 well tlu' purpose of its employer. The 
woiMiils were mortid, ajid Antonia was conweious tlint she 
never eould reeovei'. Vel, the few momeiil-s which remained 
for her wei'(t moments of liai)piiiess. The eoneern expressed 
Ul)On Lorenzo's eounteiuinee, tli{! frantie fondness of his 
eomplaiuts, and his (earnest iiupiii'ies respeefing her wounds, 
eonvineed her beyond a doubt that his alleclions wi're her 
own. SIk' would not be remove<l from the vaull.s, fearing 
lest motion shoidd only hasten her deidJi ; and she was un- 
willing to lose those mouuuil.s whieh she passed in recH'iving 
proofs of Lorenzo's love, and iissuring him of her own. She 
told him that had slu^ still been undefiled, she might have 



352 RosARio ; or, 

lamented the loss of life ; but that, deprived of honor, and 
branded with shame, death was to her a blessing ; she could 
not have been his wife ; and that hope being denied her, she 
resigned herself to the grave without one sigh of regret. 
Slie bade him take courage, conjured him not to abandon 
himself to fruitless sorrow, and declared that she mourned 
to leave nothing in the whole world but him. While every 
sweet accent increased rather tlian lightened Lorenzo's grief, 
she continued to converse with liim till the moment of dis- 
solution. Her voice grew faint, and scarcely audible ; a 
thick cloud spread itself over her eyes ; her heart beat slow 
and irregular, and every instant seemed to announce that her 
fate was near at hand. 

Slie lay, her head reclining upon Lorenzo's bosom, and her 
lips still murmuring to him words of comfort. She was inter- 
rupted by the convent bell as, tolling, at a distance, it struck 
the hour. Suddenly Antonia's eyes sparkled with celestial 
brightness ; her frame seemed to have received new strength 
and animation. She started from her lover's arms. 

" Three o'clock ! " she cried. " Mother, I come ! " 

She clasped her hands, and sank lifeless upon the ground. 
Lorenzo, in agony, threw himself beside her. He tore his 
hair, beat his breast, and refused to be separated from the 
corpse. At length his force being exhausted, he suffered 
himself to be led from the vault, and was conveyed to the 
Palace de Medina scarcely more alive than the unfortunate 
Antonia. 

In the meanwhile, though closely pursued, Ambrosio suc- 
ceeded in regaining the vault. The door was alread j' fastened 
when Don Ramirez arrived, and much time elapsed ere the 
fugitive's retreat was discovered. But nothing can resist per- 
sevei'ance. Thougli so artfully concealed, the door could not 
escape the vigilance of the archers. They forced it open, and 
entered the vault to the infinite dismay of Ambrosio and his 
companion. The monk's confusion, his attempt to hide him- 



THE FEMALE MONK 353 

self, his rapid flight, and the blood sprinkled upon his clothes, 
left no room to doubt his being Antonia's murderer. But 
when he was recognized for the immaculate Ambrosio, "the 
man of holiness," the idol of Madrid, the faculties of the 
spectators were chained up in surprise, and scarcely could 
they persuade themselves that what they saw was no vision. 
The abbot strove not to vindicate himself, but preserved a 
sullen silence. He was secured and bound. The same pre- 
caution was taken with Matilda. Her cowl being removed, 
the delicacy of her features and profusion of her golden hair 
betrayed her sex ; and this incident created fresh amazement. 
The dagger was also found in the tomb, where the monk had 
thrown it ; and the dungeon having undergone a thorough 
search, the two culprits were conveyed to the prisons of the 
Inquisition. 

Don Ramirez took care that the populace should remain 
ignorant both of the crimes and profession of the captives. 
He feared a repetition of the riots which had followed the 
apprehending the prioress of St. Clare. He contented him- 
self with stating to the Capuchins the guilt of their superior. 
To avoid the siiame of a public accusation, and dreading the 
popular fury, from which they had already saved their abbey 
with much difficulty, the monks readily permitted the inquisi- 
tors to search their mansion without noise. No fresh dis- 
coveries were made. The effects found in the abbot's and 
Matilda's cells were seized, and carried to the Inquisition to 
be produced in evidence. Everything else remained in its 
former position, and order and tranquillity once more pre- 
vailed through Madrid. 

St. Clare's convent was completely ruined by the united 
ravages of the mob and conflagration. Nothing remained of 
it but the principal walls, whose thickness and solidity had 
preserved them from the flames. Tha nuns who had belonged 
to it were obliged, in consequence, to disperse themselves into 
Other societies ; but the prejudice against them ran high, and 

KOSAEIO 23 



354 ROSARio ; or, 

the superiors were very unwilling to admit them. However, 
most of them being related to families the most distinguished 
for their riches, birtli, and power, the several convents were 
compelled to receive them, thongh they did it with a very ill 
grace. This prejudice was extremely false and unjustifiable. 
After a close investigation, it was proved that all in the con- 
vent were persuaded of the death of Agnes, except the four 
nuns whom St. Ursula had pointed out. These had fallen 
victims to tiie popular furj', as had also several who were 
perfectly innocent and unconscious of the wliole affair. 
Blinded by resentment, the mob had sacrificed every nun who 
fell into their hands ; tliey who escaped were entirely indebted 
ro the Duke de Medina's prudence and moderation. Of this 
they were conscious, and felt for that nobleman a proper 
sense of gratitude. 

Virginia was not the most sparing of her thanks ; she 
wished equally to make a proper return for his attentions 
and to obtain the good graces of Lorenzo's uncle. In this 
she easily succeeded. The duke beheld her beauty with 
wonder and admiration ; and while his eyes were enchanted 
with her form, and sweetness of her manners, and her tender 
concern for the suffering nun, prepossessed his heart in her 
favor. This Virginia had discernment enough to perceive, 
and she redo\ibled her attention to the invalid. When he 
parted from her at the door of her father's palace, the duke 
entreated permission to inquire occasionally after her health. 
His request was readily granted ; Virginia assured him that 
the Marquis de Villa-Franca would be proud of an oppor- 
tunity to thank him in person for the protection afforded to 
her. They now separated, he enchanted with her beauty 
and gentleness, and she much pleased with liim, and more 
with his nephew. 

On entering the palace, Virginia's first care was to summon 
the family physician, and take care of her unknown charge. 
Her mother hastened to share with her the charitable office. 



THE FEMALE MONK 355 

Alarmed by the riots, and trem-bliiig for his daugliter's safety, 
who was his only ciiild, the marquis liad flown to St. Clare's 
convent, and was still employed in seeking her. Messengers 
were now despatched on all sides to inform him that he would 
find her safe at his hotel, and desire him to hasten thitiier 
immediately. His absence gave Virginia liberty to bestow 
her whole attention upon lier patient ; and though much dis- 
ordered herself by tlie adventures of the night, no persuasion 
could induce her to quit the bedside of the sufferer. Her 
constitution being much enfeebled by want and sorrow, it 
was some time before the stranger was restored to her senses. 
She found great difficulty in swallojving the medicines pre- 
scribed to her; but this obstacle being removed, slie easily 
conquered her disease, which proceeded from nothing but 
weakness. The attention which was paid her, the wholesome 
food to which she had long been a stranger, and her joy at 
being restored to liberty, to society, and, as she dared to 
hope, to love, all this combined to her speedy re-establish- 
ment. From the first moment of knowing her, her melancholy 
situation, her sufferings almost unparalleled, had engaged 
the affections of her amiable hostess. Virginia felt for her 
the most lively interest ; but how was she delighted when, 
her guest being sufliciently recovered to relate her historj', 
she recognized in the captive nun the sister of Lorenzo ! 

This victim of monastic cruelty was indeed no other than 
the unfortunate Agnes. During her abode in the convent, 
she had been well known to Virginia ; but her emaciated 
form, her features altered by afHiction, her death universally 
credited, and her overgrown and matted hair, which hung 
over her face and liosom in disorder, at first had prevented 
her being recollected. The prioress had put every artifice 
in practice to induce Virginia to take the veil ; for the heiress 
of Villa-Franea would have been no despicable acquisition. 
Her seeming kindness and unremitting attention so far snc- 
ceeded, that her young relation began to think seriously upon 



356 ROSAEio ; or, 

compliance. Bettor instructed in the disgust and ennui of a 
monastic life, Agnes bad penetrated the designs of the 
doraina. She trembled for the innocent girl, and endeavored 
to make her sensible of her error. She painted in their trufe 
colors the numerous inconveniencies attached to a convent, 
the continued restraint, the low jealousies, the petty intrigues, 
servile court and gross flattery expected by the superior. 
.She then bade Virginia reflect on the. brilliant prospect which 
presented itself before her. Tlie idol of her parents, the ad- 
miration of Madrid, endowed by nature and education witli 
every perfection of person and mind, she might look forward 
to an establishment the most fortunate. Her riclies furnished 
her with the means of exercising, in their fullest extent, charity 
and benevolence, tliose virtues so dear to her ; and her stay 
in the world would enable her discovering objects worthy 
her protection, which could not be done in the seclusion of a- 
convent. 

Her persuasions induced Virginia to lay aside all thoughts 
of the veil ; but anotlier argument not used by Agnes had 
more weight with her tlian all the others put together. She 
had seen Lorenzo when he visited iiis sister at the grate ; his 
person pleased her, and lier conversation with Agnes gener- 
ally used to terminate in some question about her brother. 
She, who doated upon Lorenzo, wished for no better than an 
opportunity to trumpet out his praise. She spoke of him in 
terras of rapture ; and, to convince her auditor how just were 
his sentiments, how cultivated his mind, and elegant his ex- 
pressioBS, she showed her at different times the letters which 
she received from liim. She soon perceived that from those 
communications the heart of her young friend had imbibed 
impressions which she was far from intending to give, but was 
truly happy to discover. She could not have wished her 
brother a more desirable, union : heiress of Villa-Franca, 
virtuous, affectionate, beautiful, and accomplished, Virginia 
seemed calculated to make him happy. She sounded her 



THE FEMALE MONK 357 

brother upon the subject, tliongh without mentiomng names 
or circumstances. He assured lier in liis answers that his 
heart and hand were totally disengngiMl, and she thought 
that upon these grounds she might proceed without danger. 
She in -consequence endeavored to strengthen the dawning 
passion of her friend. Lorenzo was made the constant topic 
of her discourse; and the avidity with which her auditor 
listened, tlie sighs which frequently escaped from her bosom, 
and the eagerness with which, upon any digression, she 
brought back the conversation to the subject whence it had 
wandered, sufficed to convince Agnes that her brother's ad- 
dresses would be far from disagreeable. She at length ven- 
tured to mention her wishes to the duke. Though a stranger 
to the lady herself, he knew enough of her situation to think 
her worthy his nephew's hand. It was agreed between him 
and his niece that she should insinuate the idea to Lorenzo, 
and she only waited his return to Madrid to propose her friend 
to him as his bride. The unfortunate events which took place 
in the interim prevented her from executing her design. Vir- 
ginia wept her loss sincerely, both as a companion and as the 
only person to whom she could speak of Lorenzo. Her pas- 
sion continued to prey upon her heart in secret, and she had 
almost determined to confess her sentiments to her mother, 
when accident once more threw 1 heir object in her way. The 
sight of him so near her, his politeness, his compassion, his 
intrepidity, had combined to give new ardor to her affection. 
When she now found her friend and advocate restored to 
her, she looked upon her as a gift from Heaven ; she ventured 
to cherish the hope of being united to Lorenzo, and resolved 
to use with him his sister's influence. 

Supposing that before her death Agnes might possibly 
have made the proposal, the duke had placed all his nephew's^ 
hints of marriage to Virginia's account, consequently he gave 
them the most favorable reception. On returning to his 
hotel, the relation given him of Antonia's death, and Lo- 



358 EOSABio ; or, 

renzo's behavior on the occasion, made evident his mistake. 
He lamented the circumstances ; but the unhappy girl being 
effectually oat of the way, he trusted that his designs would 
yet be i executed. 'Tis true that Lorenzo's situation just 
then ill-suited liim for a bridegroom. His ho]ies disappointed 
at the moment when he expected to realize them, and the 
dreadful and sudden death of his mistress had affected him 
very severely. The duke found him upon the bed of sick- 
ness. His attendants expressed serious apprehensions for 
his life ; but the uncle entertained not the same fears. He 
was of opinion, and not unwisely, that " men have died, and 
worms have ate them, but not for love ! " He. therefore flat- 
tered himself that, however deep miglit be the impression 
made upon his nepiiew's heart, time and Virginia would be 
able to efface it. He now hastened to the afflicted youth, 
and endeavored to console him. He sympathized in his dis- 
tress, but encouraged him to resist the encroachments of 
despair. He allowed that he could' not but feel shocked at 
an event so terrible, nor could he blame his sensibility ; but 
he besought him not to torment himself with vain regrets, 
and rather to struggle with affliction, and preserve his life, 
if not for his own sake, at least for the sake of those who 
were fondly attached to him. While he labored tlius to make 
Lorenzo forget Autouia's loss, the duke paid his court assidu- 
ously to Virginia, and seized every opportunity to advance his 
nephew's interest in her heart. 

It may easily be expected that Agnes was not long without 
inquiring after Don Raymond. She was shocked to heai the 
wretched situation to which grief had reduced him ; yet she ' 
could not help exulting secretly when she reflected that his 
illness proved the sincerity of his love. The duke undertook 
the office himself of announcing to the invalid the happiness 
that awaited him. Thougli lie omitted no precaution to pre- 
pare him for such an event, at this sudden change from 
(lespair to happiness Raymond's transports were so -violent 



THE FEMALE MONK 359 

as ueai'ly to have proved fatal to liim. Tliose once passed, 
the tranquillity of his riiind, the assurance of felicitj', and 
above all the presence of Agnes (who was no sooner re-estab- 
lished by the care of Virginia and the marchioness than she 
hastened to attend her lover), soon enabled him to overcome 
the effects of his late dreadful malady. The calm of his soul 
communicated itself to his body, and he recovered with such 
rapidity as to create universal surprise. 

Not so Lorenzo. Antonia's death, accompanied with such 
terrible circumstances, weighed upon his mind heavily. He 
was worn down to a shadow ; nothing could give him pleasure. 
He was persuaded with difficulty to swallow nourishment 
sutlicient for. the support of life, and a consumption was ap- 
prehended. The society of Agnes formed his only comfort. 
Though accident had never permitted their being nmch to- 
getlier, he entertained for her a sincere friendsliip and attach- 
ment. Perceiving liow necessary she was to him, she seldom 
quitted his chamber. She listened to his complaints with 
unwearied attention, and soothed him by the gentleness of 
her manners, and by sympathizing with his distress. Slie 
still inhabited the Palace de Villa-Franca, the possessors of 
which treated her with marked affection. The duke had in- 
timated to the marquis his wishes resi)eeting Virginia. The 
match was unexceptionable ; Lorenzo was heir to his uncle's 
innncnse property, and was distinguished in Madrid for his 
agreeable person, extensive knowledge, and propriety of 
conduct. Add to this, that the marchioness had discovered 
how strong was her daughtei-'s prepossession in his favor. 

In consequence the duke's proposal was accepted without 
hesitation ; every precaution was taken to induce Lorenzo's 
seeing the lady with those sentiments which she so well 
merited to excite. In her visits to her brother, Agnes was 
frequently accompanied liy the marchioness ; and, as soon as 
he was able to move into his ante-chamber, Virginia, under 
her mptJjev's prptectiou, Ty:^ spme1;irocs perniittec] to expreg^ 



360 B08ARI0 ; OR, 

her wishes for his recovery. This she did witli snch delicacy, 
the manner in which she mentioned Antonia was so tender 
and soothing, and when she lamented her rival's melancholy 
fate, her bright eyes shone so beautiful through her tears, 
that Lorenzo could not behold or listen to her without 
emotion. His relations, as well as the lady, perceived that 
with every day her society seemed to give him fresh pleasure, 
and that he spoke of her in terms of stronger admiration. 
However, they prudently kept their observations to them- 
selves. No word was dropped which might lead him to sus- 
pect their designs. They continued their former conduct 
and attention, and left time to ripen into a warmer sentiment 
the friendship which he already felt for Virginia. 

In the meanwhile her visits became more frequent ; and 
latterly there was scarce a day, of whicli she did not pass 
some part by the side of Lorenzo's couch. He gradually re- 
gained his strength, but the progress of his recovery was 
slow and doubtful. One evening he seemed to be in better 
spirits than usual ; Agnes and her lover, the dulce, Virginia, 
and her parents were sitting round him. He now for the 
first time entreated his sister to inform him how she had es- 
caped the effects of the poison whicli St. Ursula had seen her 
swallow. Fearful of recalling those scenes to his mind in 
which Antonia liad perislied, she had hitherto concealed from 
him the history of her sufferings. As he now started the 
subject himself, and thinking that perhaps the narrative of 
her sorrows migiit draw him from the contemplation of those 
on wiiich he dwelt too constantly, she immediately complied 
witli his request. Tlie rest of the company had already 
heard her story ; but the interest which all present felt for 
its heroine made them anxious to hear it repeated. The 
whole society seconding Lorenzo's entreaties, Agnes obeyed. 
She first recounted the discovery which had taken place in 
the abbey chapel, the domina's resentment, and the midnight 
scene of which St. Ursula had been a concealed witness. 



THK FEMALE MONK 361 

Though the nun had already described this latter event, Agnes 
now related it more circumstantially, and at large. Aftei 
which she proceeded in her narrative as follows : — 

CoWCLUStON OF THE HiSTORY OF AgNES DE MeDINA. 

My s«pposed death was attended with the greatest agonies. 
Those moments which I believed my last were embittered ]>y 
the doHiina's assurances tliat I could not escape perdition ; 
and as my eyes closed, I heard her rage exhale itself in 
curses on my offense. Tlie horror of this situation, of a 
death-bed from which hope was banished, of a sleep from 
which I was only to wake to find myself the prey of flames 
and furies, was more dreadful than I can describe. Wlien 
animation revived in me, my soul was still iiiipre.ssed with 
these terriljle ideas. I looked round with fear, expecting to 
behold the ministers of divipe vengeance. For the iiist 
hour my senses were so bewildered, and my brain so dizzy, 
that I strove in vain to arrange the strange images wliicli 
floated in wild confusion before me. If I endeavored to 
raise myself from the ground, the wandering of my head de- 
ceived me. Everything around me seemed to rock, and I 
sank once more upon the earth. My weak and dazzled eyes 
were unable to bear a nearer approach to a gleam of light 
which I saw trembling above me. I was compelled to close 
them again, and remain motionless in the same posture. 

A full hour elapsed before 1 was sufficiently myself to ex- 
amine the surrounding objects. When I did examine them, 
what terror filled my bosom ! I found myself extended upon 
a sort of wicker couch. It had six handles to it, which 
doubtless had served the nuns to convey me to my grave. I 
was covered with a linen cloth ; several faded flowers were 
strewn over me. On one side lay a small wooden crucifix ; 
on the other a rosary of large beads. Four low narrow walls 
confined me. The top was also covered, and in it was fitted 



362 KOSARio ; or, 

a small grated door, through which was admitted the little 
air that circulated in this miserable place. A faint ghm- 
meriug of light, which streamed through the bars, permitted 
me to distinguish the surrounding horrors. I was oppressed 
by a noisome suffocating smell ; and perceiving that the 
grated door was unfastened, I thought that I might possibly 
effect my escape. As I raised myself with this design, my 
hand rested upon something soft. I grasped it, and ad- 
vanced it towards the light. Almighty God ! what was my 
disgust ! my consternation ! In spite of its putridity, and 
the worms which preyed upon it, I perceived a corrupted 
human head, and recognized the features of a nun who liud 
died some montlis before. 1 threw it from me, and sank al- 
most lifeless upon my bier. 

When my strength returned, this circumstance, and the 
consciousness of being surrounded by the loathsome and 
mouldering bodies of my companions, increased my desires 
to escape from my fearful prison. I again moved towards 
the light. The grated door wi\s witliin my reach. I lifted 
it without difficulty ; probably it had been left unclosed, to 
facilitate my quitting the dungeon. Aiding myself by the 
irregularity of the walls, some of whose stones projected 
beyond tlie rest, I contrived to ascend them, iuid drag my- 
self out of my prison. I now found myself in a vault toler- 
ably spacious. Several tombs, similar in appcarnuce to 
that whence 1 had just escaped, were ranged along the sides 
in order, and seemed to be considerably siink within the 
earth. A sepulchral lamp was suspended from the roof by 
an iron chain, and shed a gloomy light through the dringeon. 
Emblems of death were seen on every side ; skulls, shoulder- 
blades, thigh-bones, and other relics of mortality were scat- 
tered upon the dewy ground. K;\cli tonili wiis ornamented 
with a large crucifix, and in one corner stood a wooden 
statue of St Clare. To these objects I at first piud no at- 
l;ention ; a door, the only Qi^tjet froni the Yfinlt, Iwd at- 



THE FEMALE MONK 363 

tracted my eyes. I hastened towards it, having wrapped 
my winding sheet closely round me. I pushed against the 
door, and to my inexpressible terror found that it was 
fastened on the outside. 

I guessed immediately that the prioress, mistaking the na- 
ture of the liquor which she had compelled me to drink, in- 
stead of poison had administered a strong opiate. From 
this I concluded tliat, being to all appearance dead, I had 
received the rites of burial ; and that deprived of the power 
of making my existence known, it would be my fate to ex- 
pire of hunger. This idea penetrated me with horror, not 
merely for my own sake, but that of the innocent creature 
who still lived within my bosom. I again endeavored to 
open the door, but it resisted all my efforts. I stretched 
my voice to the extent of its compass, and shrieked for aid. 
I was remote from the hearing of everyone. No friendly 
voice replied to mine. A profound and melancholy silence 
prevailed through the vault, and I despaired of liberty. My 
long abstinence from food now began to torment me. The 
tortures which hunger inflicted on me were the most painful 
and insupportable ; yet they seemed to increase with every 
hour which passed over my head. Sometimes I threw my- 
self upon the ground, and. rolled upon it, wild and desper- 
ate ; sometimes starting up, I returned to the door, again 
strove to force it open, and repeated my fruitless cries for 
succor. Often was 1 on the point of striking my temple 
against the sharp corner of some monument, dashing out 
my brains, and thus terminating my woes at once. But 
still tiie remembrance of my baby vanquislied my resolution. 
I trembled at a deed which equally endangered my child's 
existence and my own. Then would I vent my anguish in 
loud exclamations and passionate complaints ; and then 
again, my strength failing me, silent and hopeless I would 
sit me down upon the base of St. Clare's statue, fold my 
pj:jn&, and abandon mysejf to sullen despair, Thus passed 



364 ROSARio ; ob, 

several wretched hours. Death advanced towards me with 
rapid strides, and I expected that every succeeding moment 
would be that of my dissolution. Suddenlj' a neighboring 
tomb cauglit my eye ; a basket stood upon it, which till 
then I had not observed. I started from iiij' seat; I made 
towards it as swiftly as my exhausted frame would permit. 
How eagerly did I seize the basket on finding it to contain 
a loaf of coarse bread and a small bottle of water. 

I threw myself with avidity upon these humble aliments. 
They liad to all appearance been placed in the vault for sev- 
eral days. The bread was hard, and the water tainted, yet 
never did I taste food to me so delicious. When the crav- 
ings of appetite were satisfied, I busied myself with con- 
jectures upon this new circumstance. I debated whether 
the baslcet had been placed there with a view to my neces- 
sity. Hope answered my dou])ts in the affirmative. Yet 
wlio could guess me to be in need of such assistance ? If my 
existence was known, why was 1 detained in this gloomy 
vault? If I was kept a prisoner, wiiat meant the ceremony 
of committing me to the tomb? Or if I was doomed to 
perish with hunger, to whose pity was I indebted for pro- 
visions placed within my reach? A friend would not have 
kept my dreadful punishment a secret ; neitiier did it seem 
probable tliat an enemy would have taken pains to supply 
me with tlie means of existence. Upon the whole I was 
inclined to think that the domiua's designs upon my life 
had been discovered by someone of my partisans in the con- 
vent, who had found means to substitute an opiate for poi- 
son ; tliat she liad furnished me witli food to support me till 
she could effect my delivery ; and tliat she was then em- 
ployed in giving intelligence to my relations of my danger, 
and pointing out a way to release me from captivity. Yet 
why then was the quality of my provision so coarse ? How 
could my friend have entered the vault without the domiua's 
knowledge? and if she had entered, why was the door 



THE FEMALE MONK 365 

fastened SO carefully? These reflections staggered me ; yet 
still this idea was the most favorable to my hopes, and 1 
dwelt upon it in preference. 

My meditations were interrupted by the sound of distant 
footsteps. They approached but slowly. Eays of light 
now darted tlirough the crevices of the door. Uncertain 
whether the persons who advanced came to relieve me, or 
werre conducted by some other motive to the vault, I failed 
not to attract their notice by loud cries for help. Still the 
sounds drew near. The light grew strongei-. At length 
with inexpressible pleasure I hfard the key tui-niiig in the 
lock. Persuaded that my deliverance was at hand, I flew 
towards the door with a shriek of joy. It opened ; but all 
my hopes of escape died away, when the prioress appeared 
followed by the same four nuns who had been witnesses of 
my supposed death. They bore torches in their hands, and 
gazed upon me in fearful silence. 

I started back in terror. The domiua descended into the 
vault, as did also her companions. Siie lient upon me a 
stern resentful eye, but expressed no surprise at finding nie 
still living. She took the seat wliich I had just quitted. 
The door was again closed, and the nuns ranged themselves 
behind their superior, while the glare of their torches, 
dimmed bj' the vapors and dampness of tlie vault, gilded 
with the cold beams tlie surrounding monuments. P'or some 
moments all preserved a dead and solemn silence. I stood 
at some distance from the prioress. At length she beckoned 
to me to adv.anee. Trembling at the severity of her aspect, 
my strength scarce sufficed me to obey lier. I diew near, 
but my limbs were unable to support their burden. I sank 
upon my knees, I clasped my liands, and lifted them up to 
her for mercy, but had no power to articulate a syllable. 

She gazed upon me with angry eyes. 

" Do I see a penitent or a criminal? " she said at length. 
" Are those hands raised in contiition for your crimes, or in 



366 ROSAHio ; o«, 

f ear of meeting their puuiskmeHt? Do tkose tears acknow- 
ledge the justice of your doom, or ouly solicit mitigation of 
your sufferings? I fear me, 'tis the latter!" 

She paused, but kept her eyes still fixed upon mine. 
"Take courage," she continued; " I wish not for your 
death, but your repentance. The drau^it which I adininis- 
tcri'd was no poison, but an opiate. My intention in de- 
cpiviiig you was to make you feel ti»e agonies of a guilty 
conscieneo, had death overtaken you suddenly, while your 
crimes were still unrepented. You have suffered those 
agonies ; I liave brougiit you to l>e familiar witli the sharp- 
ness of death, and I trust that your momcMitary anguish will 
prove to you an eternal benefit. It is not my design to 
destroy your immortal soul, or bid you seek the grave 
burthenod witli tlie weiglit of sins uuexpiated. No, daughter, 
far from it ; I will purify you with wholesome chastisement, 
and furnish you with full leisure for contrition and remorse. 
Hear then my sentence : the ill-judged zeal of your friends 
delayed its execution, but cannot now i)revent it. All Madrid 
bi'lieves you to lie no more ; your relations are thoroughly 
persuaded of your death, and the nuns your partisans have 
assisted at your funeral. Your existence can never be^sus- 
pected. I have taken such precautions as must render it an 
impenetr.able mysterj'. Then abandon all thoughts of a world 
from which you are eternally separated, and employ the few 
hours which are allowed you in preparing for the next." 

This exordium led me to expect something terrible. I 
trembled, and would have spoken to deprecate her wrath ; 
but a motion of the doniina comm.anded me to be silent. She 
proceeded, — 

" Though of late years unjustly neglected, and now op- 
posed by many of our misguided sisters (whom Heaven con- 
vert!), it is my intention to revive the laws of our order in 
their full force. That against incontinence is severe, but no 
more than so monpstrous an offense demands. Submit to it, 



THE FEMALE MONK 367 

daughter, without resistance ; you will find the benefit of 
patience and resignation in a better life than this. Listen 
then to the sentence of St. Clare : Beneath these vaults there 
exist prisons, intended to receive such criminals as yourself 
— artfully is their entrance concealed — and she who enters 
them must resign all hopes of liberty. Thither must you now 
be conveyed. Food shall be supplied you, but not sufficient 
for the indulgence of appetite ; you shall have just enough to 
keep together body and soul, and its quality shall be the 
simplest and coarsest. Weep, daughter, weep, and moi.sten 
your bread with your tears ; God knows that j'ou have ample 
cause for sorrow ! Chained down in one of these secret 
dungeons, shut out from the world and light for ever, with 
no comfort but religion, no society but repentance, thus nuist 
you groan away the remainder of your days. Such are St. 
Clare's orders ; submit to them without repiuing. Follow 
me ! " 

Thunder-struck at this barbarous decree, my little remain- 
ing strength abandoned me. I answered only by falling at 
her feet, and bathing them with tears. The domina, un- 
moved by my affliction, lose from her seat with a stately air ; 
she repeated iier coinnuiiids in an absolute tone ; but my ex- 
cessive faintness made me unable to obey her. Mariana 
and Alix raised me from the ground, and carried me forward 
in their arms. The prioress moved on, leaning on Violante, 
and Camilla preceded her with a torch. Thus passed our 
sad procession along tlie passages, in silence only broken 
by my sighs and groans. We stopped before the principal 
shrine of St. Clare. The statue was removed from its 
pedestal, though how I knew not. The nuns afterwards 
raised an iron grate, till then concealed by the image, and 
let it fall on the other side with a loud crash. The awful 
sound, repeated by the ^•aults above and caverns below me, 
roused me from the despondent apathy in which I had been 
plunged. 1 looked before me ; an abyss presented itself to 



368 ROSARio ; or, 

my affrighted eyes, and a steep and narrow staircase, whither 
my conductors were leading me. I shrielied, and started 
back. I implored compassion, rent the air with my cries, 
and summoned both Heaven and earth to my assistance. In 
vain ! I was hurried down tlie staircase, and forced into one 
of the cells which lined the cavern's sides. 

My blood ran cold as I gazed upon tiiis melancholy abode. 
The cold vapors hovering in the air, the walls green with 
damp, the bed of straw so forlorn and comfortless, the chain 
destined to bind me for ever to ni}' prison, and the reptiles of 
every description, whicli, as tlie torches advanced towards 
them, I descried hurrying to their retreats, struck my heart 
with terrors almost too exquisite for nature to bear. Driven 
by despair to madness, I burst suddenly from the nuns who 
held me ; I threw myself upon my knees before the prioress, 
and besought her mercy in the most passionate and frantic 
terms. 

" If not on me," said I, " look at least with pity on that 
innocent l)eing, whose life is attached to mine ! Great is my 
crime, but let not my child suffer for it ! My baby has com- 
mitted no fault. Oh ! spare me for tlie sake of my unborn 
offspring, whom, ere it tastes life, j'our severity dooms to 
destruction ! " 

The prioress drew back hastily ; she forced her habit from 
my grasp, as if my touch had been contagious. 

"What!" she exclaimed \vith Mu exsisperated air; "what! 
Dare you plead for tlie produce of your shame? Shall a 
creature be permitted to live, conceived in guilt so mon- 
strous ? Abandoned woman, spealv for him no more ! Better 
tliat tlie wretch should perish than live ; begotten in perjury, 
incontinence, and pollution, it cannot fail to prove a prodigy 
of vice. Hear me, thou guilty ! Expect no mercy from me, 
eitlier for yourself or brat. Rather praj' that death may 
seize j'ou before you produce it ; or, if it must see the light, 
that its eyes may immediately be closed again for ever ! No 



THE FEMALE MONK 369 

aid shall be given you in your labor ; bring your offspring into 
the world yourself, feed it yourself, nurse it yourself, bury 
it yourself ! God grant that the latter may happen soon, 
lest you receive comfort from the fruit of your iniquity ! " 

This inhuman speech, the threats which it contained, the 
dreadful sufferings foretold to me by the domina, and her 
prayers for my infant's death, on whom, thougli unborn, I 
already doated, were more than my exliausted frame could 
support. Uttering a deep groan, I fell senseless at the feet 
of my unrelenting enemy. I know not how long I remained 
in this situation; but I imagine that some time must have 
elapsed before my recovery, since it sufficed the prioress and 
her nuns to quit the cavern. When my senses returned, I 
found myself in silence and solitude. I heard not even the 
retiring footsteps of mj' persecutors. All was huslied, and 
all was dreadful ! I had been thrown upon the bed of straw ; 
the heavy cliain, which I had already eyed witli terror, was 
wound around my waist, and fastened me to the wall. A 
lamp glimmering with dull melaucholj' rays through my dun- 
geon, permitted my distinguishing all its horrors. It was 
separated from the cavern by a low and irregular wall of 
stone. A large chasm was left open in it, which formed the 
entrance, for door there was none. A leaden crucifix was 
in front of my straw couch. A tattered rug lay near me, as 
did also a chaplet of beads ; and not far from me stood a 
pitcher of water, and a wicker basket containing a small loaf, 
and a bottle of oil to supply my lamp. 

With a despondent eye did I examine this scene of suffer- 
ing ; when I reflected that I was doomed to pass in it the 
remainder of my days, my heart was rent with bitter anguish. 
I had once been taught to look forward to a lot so different ! 
At one time my prospects had appeared so bright, so flatter- 
ing ! Now, all was lost to me. Friends, comfort, society, 
happiness, in one moment I was deprived of all ! Dead to 
the world, dead to pleasure, I lived to nothing but the sense 
EosARio 24 



370 ROSARIO ; OR, 

of misery. How fair did tliat world seem to me, from wliicli 
I Was for ever excluded ! How many loved objects did it 
contain, whom I never should behold again ! As I threw a 
look of terror round my prison, as I shrunk from the cutting 
wind which howled through my subterraneous dwelling, the 
change seemed so striking, so abrupt, that I doubted its 
reality. That the Duke de Medina's niece, that the destined 
bride of the Marquis de las Cisternas, one bred up in afflu- 
ence, related to the noblest families in Spain, and rich in a 
multitude of affectionate friends — that she should in one 
moment become a captive, separated from the world for ever, 
weighed down with chains, and reduced to support life with 
the coarsest aliments — appeared a change so sudden and in- 
credible, that I believed myself the sport of some frightful 
vision. Its continuance convinced me of my mistake with 
but too much certainty. Every morning I looked for some 
relief from my sufferings ; every morning my hopes were dis- 
appointed. At length I abandoned all idea of escaping, I 
resigned myself to my fate, and only expected liberty when 
she came the companion of death. 

My mental anguish, and the dreadful scenes in which I had 
been an actress, advanced the period of my labor. In soli- 
tude and misery, abandoned by all, unassisted by art, un- 
comforted by friendship, with pangs which if witnessed would 
have touched the hardest heart, was I delivered of my wretched 
burden. It came alive into the world ; but I knew not how to 
treat it, or by what means to preserve its existence. I could 
only bathe it with tears, warm it in my bosom, and offer up 
prayers for its safety. I was soon deprived of this mournful 
employment ; the want of proper attendance, my ignorance 
how to nurse it, the bitter cold of the dungeon, and the un- 
wholesome air which inflated its lungs, terminated my sweet 
babe's short and painful existence. It expired in a few 
hours after its birth, and I witnessed its death with agonies 
which beggar all description. 



THE FEMALE MONK 371 

But my grief was unavailing. My infant wa, no more ; 
nor could all my sighs impart to its little tender frame the 
breath of a moment. I rent my winding-sheet, and wrapped 
in it my lovely child. I placed it on my bosom, its soft arm 
folded round my neck, and its pale cold cheek resting upon 
mine. Thus did its lifeless limbs repose, while I covered 
it with kisses, talked to it, wept, and moaned over it without 
remission day or night. Camilla entered my prison regularly 
once every twenty-four hours to bring me food. In spite of 
her flinty nature, she could not behold this spectacle unmoved. 
She feared that grief so excessive would at length turn my 
brain ; and in truth I was not alwaj's in my proper senses. 
Frou) a principle of compassion she urged me to permit the 
corpse to be buried ; but to this I never would consent. I 
vowed not to part with it while I had life ; its presence was 
mj' only comfort, and no persuasion could induce me to give 
it up. It soon became a mass of putridity, and to every eye 
was a loathsome and disgusting object, to every eye but a 
mother's. In vain did human feelings bid me recoil from 
this emblem of mortality with repugnance. I withstood, 
and vanquished that repugnance. I persisted in holding 
my infant to my bosom, in lamenting it, loving it, ador- 
ing it! Hour after hour have I passed upon my sorry 
couch, contemplating what had once been my child. I en- 
deavored to retrace its features through the livid corruption 
with which they were overspread. During my confinement, 
this sad occupation was my only delight ; and at that time 
worlds should not have bribed nie to give it up. Even when 
released from my prison, I brought away my child in my arms. 
The representations of my two kind friends — (here she took 
the hands of the Marchioness and Virginia, and pressed them 
alternately to her lips)— at length persuaded me to resign 
my unhappy infant to the grave. Yet I parted from it with 
reluctance. However, reason at length prevailed ; I suffered 



372 ROSARio, OR ; 

it to be taken from mo, niul it now reposes in consecrated 
ground. 

I before mentioned that regnlarly once a day Camilla 
brouglit me food. She sought not to embitter my sorrows 
with reproach. She bade me, 'tis true, resign all liopes of 
liberty and worldly happiness ; but she encouraged me to 
bear with patience my temporary distress, and advised me to 
draw comfort from religion. My situation evidently affected 
her more than she ventured to express ; but she believed that 
to extenuate my fault would make me less anxious to repent 
it. Often while her lips painted the enormity of my guilt in 
glaring colors, her eyes betrayed how sensible she was to my 
sufferings. In fact, I am certain that none of my tormentors 
(for the three other nuns entered my prison occasionally) 
were so much actuated by the spirit of oppressive cruelty as 
by the idea that to afflict mj' body was the only way to pre- 
serve my soul. Nay, even this persuasion might not have 
had such weight with them, and they might have thought my 
punishment too severe, had not their good dispositions been 
repressed by blind obedience to their superior. Her resent- 
ment existed in full force. My project of elopement having 
been discovered by the abbot of the Capuchins, she supposed 
herself lowered in his opinion by my disgrace, and in conse- 
quence her hate was inveterate. She told the nuns, to whose 
custody I was committed, that my fault was of the most 
heinous nature, that no sufferings could equal the offense, 
and that nothing could save me from eternal perdition but 
punishing my guilt with the utmost severity. The superior's 
word is an oracle to but too many of a convent's inhabitants. 
The nuns believed whatever the prioress chose to assert, 
though contradicted by reason and charity. They hesitated 
not to admit the truth of lier arguments. They followed 
her injunctions to the very letter, and were fully persuaded 
that to treat me with lenity, or to show the least pity for my 



THE FEMALE MONK 373 

woes, would be a direct means to destroy my chance for sal- 
vation. 

Camilla being most employed about me, was particularly 
charged by the prioress to treat me with harshness. In com- 
pliance with these orders, she frequently strove to convince 
me how just was my punishment, and how enormous was my 
crime. She bade me think myself too happy in saving my 
soul by mortifying my body, and even threatened me some- 
times with eternal perdition. Yet, as I before observed, she 
always concluded by words of encouragement and comfort ; 
and though uttered by Camilla's lips, I easily recognized the 
domina's expressions. Once, and once only, the prioress 
visited me in my dungeon. She then treated me with the 
most unrelenting cruelty. She loaded me with reproaches, 
taunted me with my frailty ; and, when I implored her mercy, 
told me to ask it of Heaven, since I deserved none on earth. 
She even gazed upon my lifeless infant without emotion ; and 
when she left me, I heard her cliarge Camilla to increa,se the 
hardships of my captivity. Unfeeling woman ! But let me 
check my resentment. She has expiated her errors by her 
sad and unexpected death. Peace be with her ! and may her 
crimes be forgiven in Heaven, as I forgive her my sufferings 
on earth ! 

Thus did I drag on a miserable existence. Far from 
growing familiar with my prison, I beheld it every moment 
with new horror. The cold seemed more piercing and bitter, 
tlie air more thick and pestilential. My frame became weak, 
feverish, and emaciated. I was unable to rise from the bed 
of straw, and exercise my limbs in the narrow limits to which 
the length of my chain permitted me to move. Though ex- 
hausted, faint, and weary, I trembled to profit by the ap- 
proach of sleep. My slumbers were constantly interrupted 
by some obnoxious insect crawling over me. Sometimes I 
felt the bloated toad, hideous and pampered with the poison- 
ous vapors of the dungeon, dragging his loathsome length 



374 EOSARio ; or, 

along my bosom. Sometimes tlie quick cold lizard roused 
me, leaving his slimy tract upon my face, and entangling 
itself in the tresses of my wild and matted hair. Often have 
I at waking found my fingers' ringed with the long worms 
which bred in the corrupted flesh of my infant. At sucli 
times I shrinked with terror and disgust ; and, wliile I shook 
off the reptiles, trembled with all a woman's weakness. 

Such was my situation when Camilla was suddenly taken 
ill. A dangerous fever, supposed to be infectious, confined 
her to her bed. Everyone, except tlie lay sister appointed 
to nurse her, avoided lier witli caution, and feared to catch the 
disease. She was perfectly delirious, and by no means capable 
of attending to me. Tlio domina, and the nuns admitted to 
the mystery, liad latterly entirely given me over to Camilla's 
care. In consequence, they busied themselves no more about 
me ; and, occupied by preparing for the approaching festival, 
it is more than probable that 1 never once entered into their 
thoughts. Of the reason of Camilla's negligence I have been 
informed since my release by the Mother St. Ursula. At 
that time I was very far from suspecting its cause. On the 
contrary, I waited for my gaoler's appearance at first with 
impatience, and afterwards with despair. One day passed 
away, another followed it ; the third arrived . Still no Camilla ! 
still no food ! I knew the lapse of time by the wasting of 
my lamp, to supply which, fortunately, a week's supply of 
oil had been left me. I supposed either that the nuns had 
forgotten me, or that the domina had ordered them to let me 
perish. The latter idea seemed the most probable, yet so 
natural is the love. of life that I trembled to find it true. 
Though embittered by every species of misery, my existence 
was still dear to me, and I dreaded to lose it. Every suc- 
ceeding minute proved to me that I must abandon all hopes 
of relief. I was become an absolute skeleton ; my eyes 
already failed me, and my limbs were beginning to stiffen. 
I could only express my anguish, and the pangs of that 



-fHE FEMALE MONK 375 

hunger whicli gnawed my heartstrings, by frequent groans, 
whose melancholy sound the vaulted roof of the dungeon re- 
echoed. I resigned myself to my fate. I already expected 
the moment of dissolution, when my guardian angel — when 
my beloved brother arrived in time to save me. My sight, 
grown dim and feeble, at first refused to recognize him ; and 
when I had distinguished his features, the sudden burst of 
rapture was too nuich for me to bear. I was ovei'powered 
by the swell of joy at once more beholding a frieud, and that 
a friend so dear to me. Nature could not support my 
emotions, and took her refuge in insensijjility. 

You already know wliat are my obligations to the family 
of Villa-Franca. But what you cannot know is the extent 
of my gratitude, boundless as the excellence of my benefac- 
tors. Lorenzo ! Raymond ! names so dear to me ! teach me 
to bear with fortitude this sudden transition from misery to 
bliss. So lately a captive, oppressed with chains, perishing 
with hunger, suffering every inconvenience of cold and want, 
hidden from the light, excluded from society, hopeless, 
neglected, and, as I feared, forgotten; now restored to life 
and liberty, enjoying all the comforts of affluence and ease, 
surrounded by those who are most loA'cd by me, and on the 
point of becoming his bride who lias been long wedded to 
my heart, my happiness is so exquisite, so perfect, that 
scarcely can my brain sustain the weight. One only wish 
remains ungratiiied. It is to see my brotlier in his former 
health, and to know that Antonia's memory is buried in her 
grave. Granted this prayer, I have nothing more to desire. 
I trust that my past sufferings have purchased from Heaven 
the pardon of my momentary weakness. That I have of- 
fended, offended greatly and grievously, I am fully conscious. 
But kt not my husband, because he once conquered my virtue, 
doubt the propriety of my future conduct. I have been fn '! 
and full of error ; but I yielded not to the warmth of couf ' 
tution. Eaymond, affection for you beti-ayed me. Iw;isU>> 



376 ROSARio ; on, 

confident of my strength Imt I depended no less on your 
honor than my own. I had vowed never to wee you more. 
Had it not been for the consequences of thiit ungu.arded 
moment, my resohition had been kept. Fiite willed it other- 
wise, and I cannot but n^joice at its decree. Still, my con- 
duct has been highly blameable ; and while I attempted to 
justify myself, I blush at reeoUeeting my iniprudenee. Let 
me then dismiss the ungi'iiteful subject ; first assuring you, 
Eaymond, that you still have no cause to repent our union, 
and that the more culpable have been the errors of your 
mistress, the more exemplary shall be the conduct of your 
wife. 

Here Agnes ceased ; and the marquis replied to her address 
in terms equally sincere and affection iite. Lorenzo expressed 
his satisfaction at the prospect of being so closely connected 
with a man for whom he had ever entertained the highest 
esteem. The Pope's bull h.ad fully and elTectually released 
Agnes from her religious engagements. The marriage was 
therefore celebrated as soon as the needfiri preparations had 
been made ; for the marquis wished to have the ceremony 
pei'formed with all possible splendor and publicity. This 
being over, and the bride h.iving received the eoinpliments of 
Madrid, she dep;ut(nl with Don liaymond for his castle in 
Andalusia. Lorenzo aeeompanied them, as did also the 
Marchioness do Villa-Fraiiea and her lovely daughter. It is 
needless to say that Theodore was one of the party, and 
would be impossible to describe his joy at his master's 
marriage. Previous to his depaiture, the manpiis, to atonic 
in some measure for his past neglect, made some inquiries 
relative to Elvira.. Finding that she, as well as her daugh- 
ter, had received many services fron\ Leom^lla and Jaciutliii, 
he showed his respect to the memory of his sister-in-law by 
making the two women handsome presents. Lorenzo fol- 
lowed his example. Leonella was highly flattered by the at- 



THE FEMALE MONK 377 

tentions of noblemen so distinguished, and Jacintha blessed 
the hour on which her house was bewitched. 

On her side, Agnes failed not to reward her convent friends. 
The worthy Mother St. Ursula, to whom she owed her liberty, 
was named, at her request, superintendent of " the Ladies of 
Charity." This was one of the best and most opulent so- 
cieties throughout Spain. Bertha and Cornelia, not choosing 
to quit their friend, were appointed to principal cliarges in 
the same establislnnent. As to the nuns who had aided the 
domina in persecuting Agnes, Camilla, being confined by ill- 
ness to her bed, had perislied in the flames which consumed 
St. Glare's convent. Mariana, Alix, and Violante, as well 
as two more, had fallen victims to the popular rage. The 
three others who had in council supported the domina's sen- 
tence were severely reprimanded, and banished to religious 
houses in obscure and distant provinces. Here they lan- 
guished away a few years, ashamed of their former weak- 
ness, and shunned by their companions with aversion and 
contempt. 

Nor was the fidelity «f Flora permitted to go unrewarded. 
Her wishes being consulted, she declared herself impatient 
to revisit her native land. In consequence, a passage was 
procured for her to Cuba, where she arrived in safety, loaded 
with the presents of Raymond and Lorenzo. 

The debts of gratitude discharged, Agnes was at liberty to 
pursue her favorite plan. Lodged in the same house, Lorenzo 
and Virginia were eternally together. The more he saw of 
her, the more was he convinced of her merit. On her part, 
she laid herself out to please ; and not to succeed was for iier 
impossible. Lorenzo witnessed with admiration her beauti- 
ful person, elegant manners, innumerable talents, and sweet 
disposition. He was also much flattered by lier prejudice in 
his favor, which she had not sufficient art to conceal. How- 
ever, his sentiments jxirtook not of that ardent character 
which had marked his affection for Antonia. The image of 



378 EOSARio ; or, 

that lovely and unfortunate girl still lived in his heart, and 
baflBed all Virginia's efforts to displace it. Still, when the 
duke proposed to liim the match, which he wished so earnestly 
to take place, liis nephew did not reject the offer. The urgent 
supplications of his friends, and the lady's merit, conquered 
his repugnance to entering into new engagements. He pro- 
posed himself to the Marquis de Villa-Franca, and was ac- 
cepted with joy and gratitude. Virginia became his wife, 
nor did she ever give him cause to repent his choice. His 
esteem increased for her daily. Her unremitted endeavors 
to please him could not but succeed. His affection assumed 
stronger and warmer colors. Antonia's image was gradually 
effaced from iiis bosom, and Virginia became sole mistress of 
that heart, which she well deserved to possess without a 
partner. 

The remaining years of Raymond and Agnes, of Lorenzo 
and Virginia, were happy as can be those allotted to mortals, 
born to be the prey of grief and sport of disappointment. 
The exquisite sorrows with which tliey had been afflicted, 
made tiiem tliink lightly of every succeeding woe. They had 
felt the sharpest darts in misfortune's quiver. Those which 
remained appeared blunt in comparison. Having weathered 
fate's heaviest storms, tliey looked calmly upon its terrors ; 
ov, if ever they felt affliction's casual gales, they seemed to 
them gentle as zephyrs which breathe over summer seas. 





On the day following Antonia's death, all Madrid was a 
scene of consternation and amazement. An avcher who had 
witnessed Ihe adventure in the sepulchre had indiscreetly 
related the circumstances of the murder ; he had also named 
the perpetrator. The confusion was without example which 
this intelligence raised among the devotees. Most of tliem 
disbelieved it, and went themselves to the abbey to ascertain 
the fact. Anxious to avoid the shame to which their supe- 
rior's ill conduct exposed the whole brotherhood, the monks 
assured the visitors that Ambrosio was prevented from re- 
ceiving them as usual by nothing but illness. This attempt 
was unsuccessful. The same excuse being repeated day 
after day, the archer's story gradually obtained confidence. 
His partisans abandoned him ; no one entertained a doubt of 
his guilt ; and they who before had been the. warmest in his 
praise were now the most vociferous in his condemnation. 

While his innocence or guilt was debated in Madrid with 
the utmost acrimony, Ambrosio was a prey to the pangs of 
conscious villainy and the terrors of punishment impending 
over him. When he looked back to the eminence on which 
he had lately stood, universally honored and respected, at 
peace with the world and witli himself, scarcely could he 
believe that he was indeed the culprit, whose crimes and 



380 



ROSAUIO ; oil, 



whose fate he tremblcHl to consider. But a few weeks had 
ehipsed since lie was piiiv iintl virtuous, eourted by the wisest 
:ui(l noblest in Miulrid, and regiirded by tiie people with a 
reverence that approached idohitry. lie now saw himself 
stained with the most loallied ;ind monstrous sins, the object 
of universal execration, a prisoner of (lie Holy Ollice, and 
probably doomed to perish in tortures the most severe. lie 
could not hope to deceive his judges ; tiie proofs ol' his guilt 
were too strong. His being in the sepulchre at so late an 
hour, his confusion at the discovery, the dagger wiiieli in his 
first alarm he owned had lu'cn coneealcd by him, and the 
blood wliic^li had spirted upon his habit from Antonia's wound, 
sufHcieiitly marked him out for the assassin. He waited with 
agony for the day of examination. lie had no resource to 
comfort him in his distress. Religion could not inspire him 
with fortitude. If he read the books of morality which were 
put into his hands, he saw in tlieni nothing but the enoi'mity 
of his offenses. If he attenii)ted to pray, he recollected that 
he deserved not Heaven's protection, iind believed his crimes 
so monstrous as to (^\ece(l even Ood's iiilinite goodness. For 
every other sinner lie thought there might be hope, but for 
him there could be noni^ Shuddering at the jiast, anguished 
by the present, and dreading the future, thus i)nssed he the 
few days preceding that which was marked for his trial. 

That day arrived. At nine in the morning his prison door 
was unlocked, and his gaoler entering, connna.nded him to 
follow him. He obeyed with trembling. He wiis conducted 
into a spacious hall hung with black cloth. At the table sat 
three grave, stern-looking men, also habited in black; one 
was the Grand Inquisitor, whoHi the importance of this cause 
had induced to examine into it himself. At a smaller table 
at a little distance sat the secre(,Mry, piovided with all neces- 
sary implements for writing. Ambrosio was beckoned to ad- 
vance, and take his station at the lower end of the tabli\ As 
his I'ye glanced downwards, he perceived various iron instru- 



THE FEMALE MONK 381 

ments lying scattered upon the floor. Their forms i^-ere iin- 
linown to liim, but appreheusion immediately guessed them 
to be eugines of torture. He turned pale, aud with difficulty 
prevented himself from sinking upon tlie ground. 

Profound silence prevailed, except when the inquisitors 
whispered a few words among themselves my steriouslj'. Near 
an hour passed away, and witli every second of it Ambrosio's 
fears grew more poignant. At length a small door, opposite 
to tliat bj' which he had entered the hall, grated heavily upon 
its hinges. An officer appeared, and was immediately fol- 
lowed by the beautiful Matilda. Her hair hung about her 
face wildlj' ; her cheeks were pale, and her ej'es sunk and 
hollow. She threw a nielancholj- look upon Ambrosio, he 
replied by one of aversion and reproach. She was placed 
opposite to bun. A bell then sounded thrice. It was the 
signal for opening the court ; and the inquisitors entered 
upon their office. 

In these trials neither the accusation is mentioned, nor the 
name of the accuser. Tlie prisoners are only asked whether 
tliey will confess. If they reply that, having no crime, they 
can make no confession, they are put to the torture without 
delay. This is repeated at intervals, either till the suspected 
avow themselves culpable, or the perseverance of the examin- 
auts is worn out and exhausted ; but without a direct acknow- 
ledgment of their guilt, the Inquisition never pronounces 
the final doom of its prisoners. In general much time is 
suffered to elapse without their beiog questioned ; but Am- 
brosio's trial had been hastened on account of a solemn ^!(/o 
da Fe which would take place in a few days, and in which 
the inquisitors meant this distinguished culprit to perform a 
part, aud give a striking testimony of their vigilance. 

The abbot was not merely accused of rape and murder, the 
ciiime of sorcery was laid to his charge, as well as to Matilda's- 
She had been seized as an accomplice in Antonia's assassina- 
tion. On searching her cell, various suspicious books and 



382 EOSAKio ; or, 

instruments were found, which justified the accusation brought 
against her. To criminate the monk, the constellated mirror 
was produced which Matilda had accidentally left in )iis charii- 
ber. The strange figures engraved upon it caught the atten- 
tion of Don Ramirez while searching the abbot's cell ; in 
consequence he carried it away with him. It was shown to 
the Grand Inquisitor, who having considered it for some time, 
took off a small golden cross which hung at his girdle, and 
laid it upon the mirror. Instantly a loud noise was heard, 
resembling a clap of thunder, and the steel shivered into a 
thousand pieces. This circumstance confirmed the suspicion 
of the monlc's having dealt in magic. It was even supposed 
tliat his former influence over the minds of the people was 
entirely to be ascribed to witchcraft. 

Determined to make him confess not only the crimes which 
he had committed, but those also of which he was innocent, 
the inquisitors began their examination. Though dreading 
the tortures as he dreaded death, which would consign him 
to eternal torments, the abbot asserted his purity in a voice 
bold and resolute. Matilda followed his example, but spoke 
with fear and trembling. Having in vain exhorted him to 
confess, the inquisitors ordered the monk to be put to the 
'question. The decree was immediately executed. Ambrosio 
suffered the most excruciating pangs that ever were invented 
by human cruelty. Yet so dreadful is death, when guilt ac- 
companies it, that he had sufficient fortitude to persist in his 
disavowal. His agonies v/eie redoubled in consequence ; 
nor was he released till, fainting from excess of pain, in- 
sensibility rescued him from tlie hands of his tormentors. 

Matilda was next ordered to the torture ; but terrified by 
the sight of tlie friar's sufferings, her courage totally deserted 
her. She sank upon her knees, ackivjwledged her corre- 
sponding with infernal spirits, and that she had witnessed 
the monk's assassination of Antonia ; but as to the crime of 
sorcery, she declared herself the sole criminal, and Ambrosio 



THE FEMALE MONK SSS 

perfectly innocent. The latter assertion met with no credit. 
The abbot had recovered his senses in time to hear the con- 
fession of his accomplice ; but he was too mucli enfeebled 
by what he had already undergone to be capable at that time 
of sustaining new torments. He was commanded back to 
his cell, but first informed that, as soon as he had gained 
strength sufficient, he must prepare himself for a second ex- 
amination. The inquisitors hoped that he would then be 
less hardened and obstinate. To Matilda it was announced 
that she must expiate her crime in Are on the approaching 
Auto da Fe. All her tears and entreaties could procure 
no mitigation of her doom, and slie was dragged by force 
from the hall of trial. 

Eeturned to his dungeon, the sufferings of Ambrosio's 
body were far more supportable than those of his mind. His 
dislocated limbs, the nails torn from his hands and feet, and 
his fingers mashed and broken by the pressure of screws, were 
far surpassed in anguish by the agitation of his soul and 
vehemence of his terrors. He saw that, guilty or innocent, 
his judges were bent upon condemning him. The remem- 
brance of what his denial had already cost him, terrified 
him, at the idea of being again applied to the question, and 
almost engaged him to confess his crimes. Then, again, 
the consequences of his confession flashed before him, and 
rendered him once more irresolute. His death would be in- 
evitable, and that a death the most dreadful. He had 
listened to Matilda's doom, ami doubted not that a similar 
was reserved for him. He sh-iiddered at the approaching 
Auto da Fe, at the idea of perishing in flames, and only es- 
caping from endurable torments to pass into others more 
subtle and everlasting ! AVitli affright did he bend his mind's 
eye on the space beyond the grave ; nor could hide from 
himself how justly he ouglit to dread Heaven's vengeance. 
In this labyrinth of terrors, fain would he have taken his 
refuge in th« gloom of atheism ; fain would he have denied 



384 ROSABio ; or, 

the soul's immortality ; have persuaded himself that, when 
his eyes once closed, they would never more open, and that 
the same moment would annihilate his soul and body. YjXen 
this resource was refused to him. To permit his being blind 
to the fallacy of this belief, his knowledge was too extensive, 
his understanding too solid and just. He could not help 
■feeling the existence of a God. Those truths, once his com- 
fort, now presented themselves before hi]n in the clearest 
light ; but they only served to drive liim to distraction. 
They destroyed his ill-grounded hopes of escaping punish- 
ment ; and, dispelled by the irresistible brightness of truth 
and conviction, philosophy's deceitful vapors faded away 
like a dream. 

In anguish almost too great for mortal frame to bear, he 
expected the tiime when he was again to be examined. He 
busied himself in planning ineffectual schemes for escaping 
both present and future punishment. Of the first there was 
no possibility ; of the second, despair made him neglect the 
only means. While reason forced him to acknowledge a 
God's existence, conscience made him doubt the infinity of 
His goodness. He disbelieved that a sinner like him could 
find mercy. He had not been deceived into error ; ignorance 
could furnish him with no excuse. He had seen vice in her 
true colors. Before he committed his crimes, he had com- 
puted every scruple of their weight, and yet he had com- 
mitted them. 

"Pardon!" he would cry in an excess of frenzy; "oh! 
there can be none for me ! " 

Persuaded of this, instead of humbling himself in peni- 
tence, of deploring his guilt, and employing his few remain- 
ing hours in deprecating Heaven's wrath, he abandoned him- 
self to the transports of desperate rage ; he sorrowed for the 
punishment of his crimes, not their commission, and exhaled 
his bosom's anguish iu idle sighs, in vain lamentations, in 
blasphemy and despair. As the few beams of day which 



THE FEMALE MONK 385 

pierced through the bars of his prisou -window gradually dis- 
appeared, and their place was supplied by the pale and glim- 
mering lamp, he felt his terrors redouble, and his ideas be- 
come more gloomy, more solemn, more despondent. He 
dreaded the approach of sleep. No sooner did his eyes 
close, "wearied with tears and watching, than tlie dreadful 
visions seemed to be realized on which his mind had dwelt 
during the day. He found himself in sulphurous realms and 
burning caverns, surrounded by fiends appointed his tor- 
mentors, and who drove him through a variety of tortures, 
each of wliich was more dreadful than the former. Amidst 
these dismal scenes wandered the ghosts of Elvira and her 
daughter. They reproached him with their deaths, recounted 
his crimes to the demons, and urged them to inflict torments 
of cruelty yet more refined. Such were the pictures which 
floated before his eyes in sleep ; they vanished not till his 
repose was disturbed by excess of agony. Then would he 
start from the ground on which he had stretched himself, 
his brows running down with cold sweat, his eyes wild and 
frenzied ; and he only exclianged the terrible certainty of 
surmises scarcely more supportable. He paced his dungeon 
with disordered steps ; he gazed with terror on the surround- 
ing darkness, and often did he cry, — 

" Oh ! fearful is night to the guilty ! " 

The day of his second examination was at hand. He had 
been compelled to swallow cordials, whose virtues were cal- 
culated to restore his bodily strength, and enable him to sup- 
port the question longer. On the night preceding this 
dreaded day, his fears for the morrow permitted him not to 
sleep. His terrors were so violent as nearly to annihilate 
his mental powers. He sat like 'one stupifled near the table 
on which his lamp was burning dimly. Despair chained up 
his faculties in idiotism, and he remained for some hours 
unable to speak or move, or indeed to think. 

ROSAHIO 25 



386 EOSAEio ; or, 

" Look up, Ambrosio ! " said a voice in accents wfll known 
to him. 

Tlie monk started, and raised liis melanclioly eyes. Ma- 
tilda stood before liiin. Slie liad quitted liia' religious habit. 
She now wore a female dress, at once elegant and splendid ; 
a profusion of diamonds blazed upon her robes, and her hair 
was confined by a coronet of roses. In her rigjit hand she 
held a small book, a lively expression of pleasure beamed 
upon her countenance : but still it was mingled with a wild, 
imperious majesty, which inspired the monk with awe, and 
repressed in some measure his transports at seeing her. 

"You here, Matilda?" he at length exclaimed. "How 
have you gained entrance? Where are your chains? What 
means this magnificence, and the joy which sparkles in your 
eyes? Have our judges relented? Is there a chance of my 
escaping? Answer me for pity, and tell me what I have to 
hope or fear." 

"Ambrosio!" she replied with an air of commanding 
dignity ; "J have baffled the Inquisition's fury. 1 am free ; 
a few moments will place kingdoms between these dungeons 
and me ; yet I purchase my liberty at a dear, at a dreadful 
price! Dare you pay the same, Ambrosio? Dare you spjing 
without fear over the bounds which separate men from 
angels? You are silent. You look upon rne with eyes of 
suspicion and alarm. I road your thoughts, iuid confess 
their justice. Yes, Ambrosio, 1 have sacrificed all for life 
and liberty. I am no longer a candidate for Heaven ! 1 
have renounced God's service, and am enlisted beneath the 
banners of his foes. 'J'he deed is past recall ; yet were it in 
my power to go back, I would not. Oh ! my friend, to ex- 
pire in such torments? to die amidst curses and execrations 1 
to bear the insults of an exasperated mob ! to be expo8c<l to 
all the mortifications of shame and infamy ! who can reflect 
without horror on such a doom? Let mo then exult in my 
exchange. 1 have sold distant and uncertain happiness for 



THE FEMALE MONK 387 

present and secure. I liave prcBcrvecl a life which otlierwise 
I had lost in torture ; and I have obtained the power of pro- 
curing every bliss which can make that life delicious ! The 
infernal spirits obey me as their sovereign ; by their aid shall 
my days "be passed in every refinement of luxury and vol- 
uptuousness. I will enjoy unrestrained the gratification of 
my senses ; every passion shall be indulged even to satiety ; 
then will I bid my servants invent new pleasures, to revive 
and stimulate my glutted appetites ! I go impatient to ex- 
ercise my newly-gained dominion. I pant to be at liberty. 
Nothing should hold me one moment longer in this abhorred 
abode but the hope of persuading you to follow my example. 
Ambrosio, I still love you ; our mutual guilt and danger 
have rendered you dearer to me than ever, and I would fain 
save you from impending destruction. Summon then your 
resolution to your aid, and renounce for immediate and cer- 
tain benefits the hopes of a salvation difficult to obtain, and 
perhaps altogether erroneous. Shake off the prejudices of 
vulgar souls ; abandon a God who has abandoned y^ou, and 
raise yourself to the level of superior beings ! " 

She paused for the monk's reply ; he shuddered while he 
gave it. 

"Matilda!" he said, after a long silence, in a low and 
unsteady voice, " what price gave you for liberty?" 

She answered him firm and dauntless. 

" Ambrosio, it was my soul ! " 

" Wretched woman, wliat have you done ! Pass but a few 
years, and how dreadful will be your sufferings ! " 

"Weak man, pass but this night, and how dreadful will 
be your own ! Do you remember what you have already en- 
dured ! To-morrow you nmst beartorments doubly exquisite. 
Do you remember tlie horrors of a fiery punishment? In 
two days you must be led a victim to the stake ! What then 
will become of you? Still dare you hope for pardon? Still 
are you beguiled with visions of salvation? Think upon 



388 EOSAKio ; or, 

your crimes ! Tliink upon your lust, your perjuiy, in- 
humanity, and hypocrisy ! Thiiilc upon the innocent blood 
Tvhieh cries to the throne of God for vengeance ! and then 
hope for mercy ! Then dream of heaven, and sigh for ■worlds 
of light, and realms of peace and pleasure ! Absurd I Open 
your eyes, Ambrosio, and be prudent. Hell is your lot; 
you are doomed to eternal perdition ; nought lies beyond 
your grave but a gulf of devouring flames. And ■will you 
then speed towards that hell? Will you clasp that perdition 
in yovu- arms ere 'tis needful? Will you plunge into those 
llames while you still have the power to shun them ? 'Tis a 
madman's action. Xo, no, Ambrosio ; let us for a while fly 
from di^\-ine vengeance. Be advised by me, purchase by one 
moment's courage the bliss of years ; enjoy the present, and 
forget th.at a future lags behind." 

•'Matilda, your counsels are dangerous. I dare not, I 
will not follow them. I must not give up my claim to sal- 
vation. Monstrous are my crimes ; but God is merciful, 
and I wiU not dcspau- of pardon ! " 

"Is such your resolution ? I have no more to say. I 
speed to joy and liberty, and abandon you to death and 
eternal torments ! " 

" Yet stay one moment, Matilda ! You command the in- 
fernal demons ; you can force open those prison doors ; you 
can release me from these chains which weigh me down. 
Save me, I conjure you and bear me from these fearful 
abodes 1 " 

" You ask the onlj' boon bcj-ond my po^wer to bestow. I 
am forbidden to assist a churchman and a partisan of God. 
Renounce those titles, and command me." 

" I will not sell my soul to perdition." 

"Persist in j'our obstinacy till you find yourself at liie 
stake ; then ■wiU you repeut your error, and sigh for osoapo 
when the moment is gone by. I quit you. Yet ere the lioiu' 
of death arrives, should wisdom eulightou you, listen to tlie 



THE FEMALE JrONK 389 

means of repairing your prcsont fiuilt. I leave witli you 
tills book. Read tlie four first lines of tlie sevcntli page 
backwards. The spirit wliom you luive already once beheld 
will iuiniediately appear to you. If ycju me wise, we shall 
meet again ; if not, farewell for ever ! " 

She let tlie book fall upon the ground. A cloud of blue 
fire wrapi)ed itself round her. Slie wiiived her hand to Ani- 
brosib, and disappeared. The momentai-y ghire which tlie 
flames poured through the dungeon, on dissipating suddenly, 
seemed to have increased its natural gloom. The solitary 
lamp scarcely gave ligiit sufflcient to guide the monk to a 
chair. He threw himself into his seat, folded his arms, and, 
leaning liis head upon the table, sank into reflections per- 
plexing and unconnected. 

He was still in this attitude when the opening of the prison 
door roused him from his stupor. He was summoned to ap- 
pear before the Grand Inquisitor. He rose and followed his 
gaoler with painful steps. He was led into the same hall, 
placed before the same examiners, and was again inter- 
rogated whether he would confess. He replied as before, 
that, having no crimes, he could acknowledge none. But 
when the executioners prepared to put him to the question, 
when he saw the engines of torture, and remembered tlie 
pangs which they had already inflicted, his resolution failed 
him entirely. F'orgetting the consequences, and only anxious 
to escape the terrors of the present moment, he made an ample 
confession. He disclosed every circumstance of his guilt, 
and owned not merely the crimes with which he was charged, 
but those of which he had never been sivspected. Being in- 
terrogated as to Matilda's flight, ivliich had created' much 
confusion, he confessed that she li.ad sold herself to Satan, 
and that she was indebted to sorcery for her escape. He 
still assured his judges that, for his own part, he had never 
entered into any compact with the infernal spirits ; but the 
threat of being tortured made him declare himself to be a 



390 ROSABIO ; OR, 

sorcerer and heretic, and whatever other title the inquisitors 
chose to fix upon him. In consequence of this avowal, his 
sentence was immediately pronounced. He was ordered to 
prepare himself to perish in the Auto da Fe, which was to be 
solemnized at twelve o'clock that night. This hour was 
chosen, from the idea that, the horror of the flames being 
heightened by the gloom of midnight, the execution would 
have a greater effect upon the mind of the people. 

Ambrosio, rather dead than alive, was left alone in his 
dungeon. The moment in which this terrible decree was 
pronounced had nearly proved that of his dissolution. He 
looked forward to the morrow with despair, and his terrors 
increased with the approach of midnight. Sometimes he 
was buried in gloomy silence ; at others he raved with 
delirious passion, wrung his hands, and cursed the hour when 
he first beheld the light. In one of these moments his eye 
rested upon Matilda's mysterious gift. His transports of 
rage were instantly suspended. He looked earnestly at the 
book ; he took it up, but immediately threw it from him with 
horror. He walked rapidly up and down his dungeon— then 
stopped, and again fixed his eyes on the spot where the book 
had fallen. He reflected that here at least was a resource 
from the fate which he dreaded. He stopped and took it up 
a second time. He remained for some time trembling and 
irresolute ; he longed to try the charm, yet feared its conse- 
quences. The recollection of his sentence at length fixed 
his indecision. He opened the volume ; but his agitation 
was so great that he at first sought in vain for the page 
mentioned by Matilda. Ashamed of himself, he cfCUed all 
his courage to his aid. He turned to the seventh leaf. He 
began to read it aloud ; but his eyes frequently wandered 
from the book, while he anxiously cast them round in search 
of the spirit whom he wished, yet dreaded to behold. Still 
]ie persisted ia bi§ design ; and with a cljoice viuassured, ?uic[ 



THE FEMALE MONK. 391 

frequent interruptions, he contrived to finish the four first 
lines of the seventh page. 

Thej^ were in a language whose import vras totally un- 
known to him. Scarce had he pronounced the last word 
when the effects of the charm were evident. A loud burst 
of thunder was heard, the prison shook to its very founda- 
tions, a blaze of lightning flashed through the cell, and in 
the next moment, borne upon sulphurous whirlwinds, Lucifer 
stood before him a second time. But he came not is when 
at Matilda's summons ; he borrowed the seraph's form to 
deceive Ambrosio. He appeared in all that ugliness which 
since his fall from Heaven had been his portion. His blasted 
limbs still bore marks of the Almightj''s thunder. A swarthy 
darkness spread itself over his gigantic form ; his Iiand and 
feet were armed with long talons. Fury glared in liis eyes 
which might have struck the bravest heart witli terror. Over 
his huge shoulders waived two enormous sable wings; and 
his hair was supplied by living snakes, wliich twined them- 
selves round his brows with frightful hissings. In one hand 
he held a roll of parchment, and in the other an iron pen. 
Still the lightning flashed around him, and the thunder with 
repeated bursts seemed to announce the dissolution of 
nature. 

Terrified at an apparition so different from what he nad 
expected, Ambrosio remained gazing upon the fiend, de- 
prived of the power of utterance. The thunder had ceased 
to roll ; universal silence reigned through the dungeon. 

"For what am I summoned hither?" said the demon, in 
a voice which sulphvrmis fogs had damped to hoarseness. 

At the sound nature seemed to tremble. A violent earth- 
quake rocked the ground, accompanied by a fresh burst of 
thunder, louder and more apalling than the first. 

Ambrosio was long unable to answer the demon's de- 
mand. 

»' I am cQBd§mBe?l tq die," b? sfiid with a f^int vpige, Ijj? 



392 ROSARio ; ob, 

blood running cold while he gazed upon his dreadful visitoi 

" Save me ! bear me from hence ! " 

" Shall the reward of my services be paid me ? Dare you' 

embrace my cause? Will you be mine, body and sbul ? Are 

you prepared to renounce Him who made you, and Him who 

died for you? Answer but 'Yes!' and Lucifer is your 

slave." 

"Will no less price content you? Can nothing satisfy 

you but my eternal ruin ? Spirit, you ask too much. Yet 

convey me from this dungeon. Be my servant for one hour, 

and I will be yours for a thousand years. Will not this 

offer suffice?" 

" It will not. I must have your soul ; must have it mine, 

and mine for ever." 

"Insatiate demon! I will not doom myself to endless 

torments. I will not give- up my hopes of being one day 

pardoned." 

" You will not? On what chimera rest then your hopes? 
Short-sighted mortal ! Miserable wretch ! Are you not 
guilty? Are you not infamous in the eyes of men and 
angels? Can such enormous sins be forgiven? Hope you 
to escape my power? Your fate is already pronounced. 
The Eternal has abandoned you. Mine you are marked in 
the book of destiny, and mine you must and shall be." 

" Fiend, 'tis false ! Infinite is the Almighty's mercy, and 
the penitent sliall meet His forgiveness. My crimes are 
moiistrous, but I will not despair of pardon. Haply, when 
they have received due chastisement — " 

"Chastisement? Was purgatory meant for guilt like 
yours? Hope you that your offences shall be bought off by 
prayers of superstitious dotards and droning monks? Am- 
brosio, be wise. Mine you must be. You are doomed to 
flames, but may shun them for the present. Sign this parch- 
ment ; I will bear you from hence, and you may pass your 
remaining years in bliss and liberty. Enjoy your existence. 



THE FEMALE MONK 393 

Indulge in every pleasure to ivliich appetite mriy lead j'on. 
But from the moment that it quits your body, remember 
that your soul belongs to me, and that I will not be de- 
frauded of my right." 

The monk was silent, but his looks declared tliat the 
tempter's words were not thrown away. He reflected on tlie 
conditions proposed with horror. On the other luind, he be- 
lieved himself doomed to perdition, and that, by refusing 
the demon's succor, he only hastened tortures wliich he 
never could escape. The fiend saw that his resolutiou was 
shaken. He renewed his instances, and endeavored to fix 
the abbot's indecision. He described the agonies of de:\th 
in the most terrific colors ; and he worked so powerfully 
upon Ambrosio's despair and fears, tliat he prevailed upon 
him to receive the parchment. He then struck the iron pen 
■which he held into a vein of the monk's left hand. It pierced 
deep, and was instantly filled with blood ; yet Ambrosio felt 
no pain from the wound. The pen was put into his hand ; 
it trembled. The wretch placed the parchment on the table 
before him, and prepared to sign it. Suddenly he held his 
hand ; he started away hastily, and threw the pen upon the 
table. 

" What am I doing ! " he cried. Then turning to the fiend 
with a desperate air, " Leave me ! begone ! I will not sign 
the parchment." 

" Fool ! " exclaimed the disappointed demon, darting look^, 
so furious as penetrated the friar's soul with horror. " Thu^f 
am I trifled with ! Go then ! Rave in agony, expire in tor-'j 
tures, and then learn the extent of the Eternal's mercy. But 
beware how you make me again your mock ! Call me no 
more, till resolved to accept my offers. Summon me a sec- 
ond time to dismiss me thus idly, and these talons shall rend 
you into a thousand pieces. Speak yet again ; will you sign 
the parchment?" 

" I will not. Leave me. Away ! " 



394 ROSAiuo ; ois, 

Instantly the thunder was heard to roll horribly ; once 
more the earth trembled with violence ; the dungeon re- 
sounded with loud shrieks, and the demon fled with blasphemy 
and curses. 

At first the monk rejoiced at having resisted the seducer's 
arts, and obtained a triumph over mankind's enemy ; but as 
the hour of punishment drew near, his former terrors revived 
in his heart. Their momentary repose seemed to have given 
them fresh vigor. The nearer that the time approached, tlie 
more did he dread appearing before the throne of God. He 
shuddered to think how soon he must be plunged into etern- 
ity ; how soon meet the eyes of his Creator, whom he had 
so grievously offended. The bell announced midnight. It 
was the signal for being led to the stake. As he listened to 
the first stroke, the blood ceased to circulate in the abbot's 
veins. He heard death and torture murmured in eacli suc- 
ceeding sound. He expected to see the archers entering his 
prison ; and as the bell forbore to toll, he seized tlie miigie 
volume in a fit of despair. He opened it, turned hnstily to 
the seventh page, and as if fearing to allow himself a mo- 
ment's thought, ran over the fatal lines with rapidity. Ac- 
companied by his former terrors, Lucifer again stood before 
the trembler. 

"You have summoned me," said the fiend. "Are you 
determined to be wise? Will you accept my conditions? 
You know them already. Renounce your claim to salvation, 
make over to me your soul, and I bc!u- you from this dungeon 
instantly. Yet is it time. Re.ioIve, or it will be too late. 
Will you sign the parchment?" 

" I must — Fate urges me — I accept your conditions." 

" Sign tlie parchment," replied the demon in an exultmg 
tone. 

The contract and the bloody pen still lay upon the table. 
Ambrosio drew near it. He prepared to sign Jiis p(iroe. A 
moment's reflectipii ipade Ijim besitatei 



THE FEJIAr.E MONK 395 

"Hark!" cried the tempter; "they come. Be quick. 
Sign the parchment, and I bear you from hence this mo- 
ment." 

In effect the archers were heard approaching, appointed 
to lead Ambrosio to the stake. The sound encouraged the 
monk in his resohition. 

" What is the import of this writing?" said he. 

" It makes your soul over to me for ever, and without 
reserve." 

" "VThat am I to receive in exchange ? " 

" My protection, and release from this dungeon. Sign it, 
and this instant I bear you away." 

Ambrosio took up the pen. He set it to the parchment. 
Again his courage failed liim. He felt a pang of terror at 
his heart, and once more threw the pen upon the table. 

" Weak and puerile ! " cried the exasperated fiend. "Away 
with this folly ! Sign the writing this instant, or I sacrifice 
you to my rage." 

At this moment the bolt of the outward door was drawn 
back. The prisoner heard the rattling of chains, the hea'S'y 
bar fell : the archers were on the point of entering. "Worked 
up to frenzy by the urgent danger, shrinking from the ap- 
proach of death, terrified by the demon's threats, and seeing 
no other means to escape destruction, the wretched monk 
complied. He signed the fatal contract, and gave it hastily 
into the evil spirit's hands, whose eyes, as he received the 
gift, ghired with malicious raptiwe. 

" Take it ! " said the God-aband«ned. " Now then, save 
me ! Snatch me from hence ! " 

■ ' Hold ! Do you freely and absolutely renounce your 
Creator and his Son ? " 

" I do ! I do ! " 

" Do you make over your soul to me for ever?" 

»' For ever ! " 



396 ROSARio ; or, 

" Without reserve or subterfuge? without future appeal to 
the cUviue mercy?" 

The last chain fell from the door of the prison. The key 
was heard turaing in the locli. Already the iron door grated 
heavily upon its rusty hinges. 

" I am yours for ever, and irrevocably ! " cried the monk, 
wild with terror. " I abandon all claim to salvation. I own 
no power but yours. Hark ! hark ! they come ! Oh ! save 
me ! bear me away ! " 

"I have triumphed ! you are mine past reprieve, and I 
fulfil my promise." 

"While he spoke, the door unclosed. Instantly the demon 
grasped one of Ambrosio's arms, spread his broad pinions, 
and sprang with him into the air. The roof opened as they 
soared upwards, and closed again when thejf had quitted the 
dungeon. 

In the meanwhile, the gaoler was thrown into the utmost 
surprise by the disappearance of his prisoner. Though 
neither he nor the archers were in time to witness the monk's 
escape, a sulphurous smell prevailing through the prison 
sufficiently informed them by whose aid he had been liberated. 
They hastened to make their report to the Grand Inquisitor. 
The story how a sorcerer had been carried away by the devil 
was soon noised about Madrid ; and for some days the whole 
city was employed in discussing the subject. Gradually it 
ceased to be the topic of conversation. Other adventures 
arose whose novelty engaged universal attention ; and Am- 
brosio was soon forgotten as totally as if he never had ex- 
isted. While this was passing, the monk, supported by his 
infernal guide, traversed the air with the rapidity of an 
arrow ; and a few moments placed him upon a precipice's 
brink, the steepest in Sierra Morena. 

Though rescued from the Inquisition, Ambrosio as yet was 
insensible of the blessings of liberty. The damning contract 
weighed heavy upon his mind ; and the scenes in which he 



THE IfEMALE MONK 897 

had been a principal actor had left behind them such im- 
pressions as rendered his heart the scat of anarchy and con- 
f us'ion. The objects now before his eyes, and which the full 
moon sailing through the clouds permitted him to examine, 
were ill calculated to inspire that calm of which he stood so 
much in need. The disorder of his imagination was in- 
creased by the wildness of the surrounding scenery ; by the 
gloomy caverns and steepy rocks, rising above each other, 
and dividing the passing clouds ; solitary clusters of trees 
scattered here and there, among whose thick-twined branches 
the wind of niglit sighed hoarsely and mournfully ; the shrill 
cry of mountain eagles, who had built their nests among 
those lonely deserts ; the stunning roar of torrents as, 
swelled by late rains, they rushed violently down tremendous 
precipices ; and- the dark waters of a silent, sluggish stream, 
which faintly reflected the moonbeams, and bathed the 
rock's base on which Ambrosio stood. The abbot cast 
round him a look of terror. His infernal conductor was 
still by his side, and eyed him with a look of mingled malice, 
exultation, and contempt. 

" Whither iiave you brought me ? " said tlie monk at length, 
in a hollow, trembling voice. " Wliy am I placed in tliis 
melancholy scene? Bear me from it quickly! carry me to 
Matilda ! " 

The fiend replied not, but continued to gaze upon liim in 
silence. Ambrosio could not sustain his glance ; lie turned 
away his eyes, while thus spoke the demon, — 

"I have him then in my power ! This model of piety 1 
this being without reproach ! this mortal who placed liis puny 
virtues on a level with those of angels. He is mine ! ir- 
revocably, eternally mine ! Companions of my sufferings ! 
denizens of hell ! how grateful will be my present ! " 

He paused, then addressed himself to the monk, — 

"Carry you to Matilda?" he continued, repeating Am- 
orosio's words. "Wretch! you shall soon be with her! 



398 ROSARio ; ok, 

You well deserve a place near her, for hell boasts no mis- 
creaut more guilty than yourself. Hark, Ambrosio, while I 
unveil your crimes ! You have, shed the blood of two in- 
nocents ; Antonia and Elvira perished by your hand. That 
Anton ia whom you violated was your sister! That Elvira 
whom you murdered gave you birth ! Tremble, abandoned 
hypocrite ! inhuman parricide ! incestuous ravisher ! tremhle 
at the extent of your offences ! And you it was who thought 
yourself proof against temptation, absolved from human 
frailities, and free from error and vice ! Is pride then a 
virtue? Is inhumanity no fault? Know, vain man ! that I 
long have marked you for my prey : I watched the move- 
ments of your heart ; I saw that you wei'e virtuous from 
vanity, not principle, and I seized the fit momeiit of seduc- 
tion. I observed your blind idolatry of the Madonna's 
picture. I bade a subordinate but crufty spirit assume a 
similar form, and you eagerly yielded to the blandisliments 
of Matilda. Your pride was gratified by her flattery ; your 
lust only needed an opportunity to break fortli ; you ran into 
the snare blindly, and scrupled not to commit a crime which 
you blamed in another with unfeeling severity. It was I 
who threw Matilda in your way ; it was I who gave you en- 
trance to Antonia's chamber ; it was I wlio caused the dag- 
ger to be given you wliich pierced your sister's bosom ; and 
it was I who warned Elvira in dreams of your designs upon 
her daughter, and thus, by preventing your profiting by her 
sleep, compelled you to add rape as well as incest to the 
catalogue of your crimes. Hear, hear, Ambrosio! Had 
you resisted me one minute longer, you had saved j'our body 
and soul. The guards whom you heard at your prison door 
came to sign if y your pardon. But I had already triumplied ; 
my plots had already succeeded. Scarcely could I propose 
nrimes so quick as you perfonried them. Y'ou are mine, and 
Heaven itself cannot rescue you from my power. Hope not 
that your penitence will make void our contract. Here is 



THE FEMALE MONK 399 

your bond, signed with your blood ; j'ou have given up your 
claim to mercj', and nothing can restore to you the rights 
which you have foolishly resigned. Believe you that your 
secret thoughts escaped me? No, no; I read them all! 
You trusted that you should still have time for repentance. 
I saw your artifice, knew its falsity, and rejoiced in deceiv- 
ing the deceiver ! You are mine bej'ond reprieve. I burn 
to possess my right ; and alive you quit not these moun- 
tains." 

During the demon's speech, Ambrosio had been stupified 
by terror and surprise. This last declaration roused him. 

" Not quit these mountains alive?" he exclaimed. " Per- 
fidious, what mean you ? Have j^ou forgotten our contract ? " 

The fiend answered by a malicious laugh, — 

" Our contract? Have I not performed my part? What 
more did I promise than to save you from your prison ? 
Have I not done so ? Are j'OU ni(t safe from the Inquisition ? 
safe from all but from me ? Fool that you were to confide 
yourself to a devil ! Why did you not stipulate for life, and 
power, and pleasure? Then all would have been granted; 
now, your reflections come too late. Miscreant, prepare for 
death ; you have not many hours to live ! " 

On hearing this sentence, dreadful were the feelings of the 
devoted wretch ! He sank upon his knees, and raised his 
hands towards heaven. The fiend read his intention, and 
prevented it. 

" What ! " he cried, darting at him a look of fury, " dare 
you still implore the Eternal's mercy? Would you feign 
penitence, and again act a hj^pocrite's part ? Villain, resign 
your hopes of pardon. Thus I secure my prey ! " 

As he said this, darting bis talons into the monk's shaven 
crown, he sprang with him from the rock. The caves and 
mountains rang with Ambrosio's shrieks. The demon con- 
tinued to soar aloft, till reaching a dreadful height, he re- 
leased the sufferer. Headlong fell the monk through the 



400 ROSARIO ; OR, 

airy waste ; the sharp point of a I'oclc received him, and he 
rolled from precipice to precipice, till bruised and mangled, 
he rested on the river's banks. Life still existed in his 
miserable frame. He attempted in vain to raise himself ; 
his broken and dislocated limbs refused to perform their 
office, nor was he able to quit the spot where he had first 
fallen. The sun now rose above the horizon ; its scorching 
beams darted full upon the head of the expiring sinner. 
Myriads of insects were called forth by the warmth ; they 
drank the blood which trickled from Ambrosio's wounds ; he 
had no power to drive them from him, and they fastened 
upon liis sores, darting their stings into his body, covered 
him with tiieir multitudes, and inflicted on him tortures the 
most exquisite and insupportable. The eagles of the rock 
tore his liesh piecemeal, and ilug out his eyeballs with their 
crooked beaks. A burning thirst tormented him ; he heard 
the river's murmur as it rolled beside him, but strove in 
vain to drag himself towa,rds the sound. Blind, maimed, 
helpless and despairing, venting his rage in blasphemy and 
curses, execrating his existence, yet dreading the arrival of 
death destined to yield him up to greater torments, six 
miserable days did the villain languish. On the seventh a 
violent storm arose. The winds in fury rent up rocks and 
forests, the sky was now black with clouds, now sheeted 
with fire ; the rain fell in torrents — it swelled the stream ; 
the waves overflowed their banks; they reached the spot 
where Ambrosio lay, and, when they abated, carried with 
them into the river the corpse of the despairing monk.